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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

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What is AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition involving damage to the macular, which affects central vision.

The macular is a small but very important part of the eye located at the centre of the retina, the light-sensing tissue which lines the back of the eye. It is responsible for seeing fine details clearly, meaning macular degeneration can make everyday activities such as driving, reading and recognising faces more difficult. AMD commonly affects people in their 50s and 60s affects people over 50 years of age.

What are age-related macular degeneration symptoms?

Macular degeneration symptoms can occur in one or both eyes and affects your central vision. They are not painful and do not affect eye appearance. Early symptoms of age-related macular degeneration include distorted areas or blurring of your vision. As AMD worsens, you may be unable to see things in the middle part of your vision and will lose the ability to see fine details, both close-up and at a distance.

Your side, or peripheral, vision usually remains normal. For example, when those with AMD look at a clock, they may be able to see the outline of the clock but be unable to tell the exact time. Similarly, people with AMD will gradually lose the ability to recognise individual faces.

Other AMD signs and symptoms include straight lines appearing wavy, colours appearing less bright than before, and objects appearing smaller than they are.

What causes macular degeneration?

Exact macular degeneration causes are unknown, although there is evidence that certain people are at a higher risk of developing AMD. These include smokers, overweight individuals, those with high blood pressure, and people with a family history of age-related macular degeneration.

It is recommended that those with AMD stop smoking, exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.. Certain supplements with antioxidants and zinc may also be able to stop the progression of AMD, although the benefits of these AMD supplements have not been definitively proven. Consult with your GP if you’re considering taking any supplements for your condition.

Make sure you have regular eye checks with an optician, as this can lead to an early age related macular degeneration diagnosis and ensure you get the treatment you need. A macular degeneration test will be conducted by a specialist optometrist and involves checking your vision and inspecting the back of your eye with a magnifying glass. Drops may be administered to allow the optometrist to inspect your eye. These can cause blurred vision for around 4-6 hours, so make sure you do not need to drive anywhere after your appointment.

The different types of macular degeneration

There are two types of AMD, with most people (around 75%) having a form known as early or dry macular degeneration. This is caused by the thinning of the retina at the macular and a build-up of waste material under the macular area of the eye. Macular degeneration vision loss from this condition usually occurs slowly and less severely, with most having near normal vision.

The other type of AMD is wet macular degeneration, which progresses to the vision-threatening late AMD levels much more quickly. This type of AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina and then leak fluid and blood, which prevents the proper function of the retina.

Severe permanent loss of central vision can eventually occur as a result of this bleeding and scarring. However, the eye is not usually at risk of complete vision loss, as the ability to see in the periphery remains.

Geographic atrophy is a rarer form of late AMD, where severe thinning or even loss of macular tissue can cause vision loss without any leaking blood vessels.

AMD treatment options

Your consultant specialist will discuss your personalised treatment programme with you. However, below outlines the current available macular degeneration treatment options;

At Moorfields Private, we provide wet macular degeneration treatment in the form of intravitreal injections. These macular degeneration injections use medicines known as Ranibizumab (also called the brand name Lucentis) or Bevacizumab (also called the brand name Eylea). These are part of a group of anti-VEGF medicines which, when regularly injected into the eye, can prevent abnormal vessels from growing, leaking and bleeding under the retina.

The majority of people with wet AMD only require these injections several times a year and most experience minimal discomfort, as drops are administered before treatment to numb the eye. These injections prevent vision from becoming worse in 9 out of 10 patients and 3 out of 10 people will experience improved vision.

Other available wet AMD treatments include photodynamic therapy (PDT), where a light is shined to the back of the eye in order to destroy abnormal blood vessels. This may be recommended in addition to eye macular degeneration injections and are typically required every few months. Laser treatment is also available for AMD, but is not effective in most cases.

Unfortunately, there is currently no dry macular degeneration treatment options available, but vision aids and practical support, such as magnifying lenses, brighter lighting and special software on your devices can minimise its impact on your day-to-day life. You can also use digital technology to monitor your vision at home, such as Alleye which provides tests to detect any early decrease in your vision.

Reasons to choose Moorfields Private

You can rest assured that you will receive the highest quality of care when choosing Moorfields Private for your wet AMD treatment. We enjoy a worldwide reputation and an exceptional level of care, delivered by surgeons working at the top of their professional fields and who all hold accredited consultant positions at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Our patients also benefit from a service with complete continuity, as you will be seen by your consultant surgeon of choice throughout every aspect of your treatment.

If you wish to make an appointment, you can call our New Patient Team on Freephone: 0800 3283 421 or send an email to moorfieldsprivate.enquiries@nhs.net

Further information

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If you would like to know more about our services or book an appointment please call our New Patient Team.

If you are already a patient at Moorfields Private and have an enquiry, please contact your consultant’s practice manager.

New Patient Team: Freephone 0800 328 3421
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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) consultants

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Professor James Bainbridge


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Lyndon Da Cruz


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Angela Rees


Consultant Ophthalmologist

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Mr Praveen Patel


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Zubin Saihan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Carlos Pavesio


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Peter Addison


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Bishwanath Pal


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Niaz Islam


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Adnan Tufail


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Chien Wong


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Kamran Saha


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Luke Nicholson


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Louisa Wickham


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Miriam Minihan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Declan Flanagan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Michel Michaelides


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Jaheed Khan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Rajesh Deshmukh


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Eric Ezra


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Dhanes Thomas


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Robert Henderson


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Mahi Muqit


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Mandeep Sagoo


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr David Bessant


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Dawn Sim


Associate Professor

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Mr Ranjan Rajendram


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Narciss Okhravi


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Mark Westcott


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Philip Hykin


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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