Age related macular degeneration

Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is said to be the most common cause of sight loss in people over 60 in the developed world.

With over 500,000 people known with the condition, there are many who do not know what the condition is and how it can affect you.

The macular is a small part of the retina at the back of the eye that is responsible for our central vision, colour vision and fine detail. Central vision is used to see what is directly in front of you; for example, watching the television or reading a book. The painless disease will not lead to total sight loss but it could eventually cause blurry and distorted vision and even a blank patch in the centre of your vision.

There are two different types of ARMD – dry and wet. Dry ARMD is caused by damage to the macula due to a lack of nutrients and a gradual reduction in the macula cells that do not regenerate. This affects 9 in 10 cases and the loss of vision is gradual over many months or years.  Wet ARMD causes abnormal blood vessels to develop in the macular which leak, causing scarring and rapid loss of vision, requiring urgent attention.

The exact cause of ARMD is unknown.   However, there are a number of increased risk factors that are associated with the development of the disease.  Age is the most important factor due to the reduction of cell regeneration.  Smokers are 2-3 times more likely to develop macular degeneration; women are more at risk and also if there is a family history. Other possible risk factors are alcohol, sunlight, obesity and high blood pressure.

Wet related degeneration can be treated if caught soon enough, but dry related degeneration currently has no treatment.   However, with the right support and knowledge it is manageable.

A lot of research is going into how to prevent and treat this disease.  Areas such as radiotherapy, the use of stem cells and drug treatments are all currently being developed and researched but what is particularly interesting is nutrition.  As we age, the ability for our body to repair our cells is reduced and prevents them coming under attack by free radicals.   Antioxidants can protect us against these effects and can be found in green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach.  It is also thought that omega 3 can protect us against free radicals as well so including oily fish in your diet is recommended.

Coping with this eye condition can be very hard and upsetting for a lot of people, not knowing how they will adapt to their vision changes. There are support groups and councillors through RNIB and the Macular Society set up for people that need someone to talk to.  There are lots of different ways that you can be supported with this disease and carry on living life to the full.


All content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silverhairs to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.

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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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eric woolley
12th Apr 2013
Thanks for voting!
after reading the comments on here i feeli must write a bit of my own story regarding the condition
i was told that i had macular trouble when having an eye test ,i am a diabeticn now have a yearly
examination at the hospital ,i was given a chart with lines and squares printed on it , i was asked to put it on the side of the fridge and test one eye at a time every morning ,if the lines turned squiggly
i should go back to the eye hospital as this denotes wet demacular armd and is very serious although it could be medically attended to ,i recently had my examination and are thankfull that there is no distict change in my eyesight , i turned 80 just before last Christmas ,if you think you are
getting any slight change in your eyesight dont hesitate to go and see your doctor ,your eyes are very precious.
Carol Burnage
30th Mar 2013
Thanks for voting!
I would like to thank you for putting up this video, I was told I had this about 6 months ago when I got my eyes tested, I was also told that I have had it for 4 years but nobody thought to tell me. Like lots of people I had no idea what it was and was told nothing could be done. Just this past few weeks I have notices my eyes getting very wattery, when I am tired, when I awake, and sometimes thoughout the day, this is new for me. So now after seeing this I am going into town today and going to get my eyes looked at again and ask for a referal.
So thankyou very much for this short video and the Silverhairs page because of this page I have learnt more about this, and I dare say will learn more things to come.
30th Mar 2013
Thanks for voting!
Thanks Carol for your very positive comments, and hope you get your referral to the eye specialist soon. Good luck 🙂

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