Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK. It's estimated that over 600,000 people suffer from it with numbers increasing daily. As it stands, around one in 200 people aged 60 has AMD.
The older we get, the greater the risk of developing AMD. It most commonly develops between the ages of 50 and 60. Vision in people with Wet AMD can experience rapid change in vision, but in the more common dry AMD, vision usually diminishes gradually, so the patient may not be aware of how much sight they have lost. A good way of checking your eyesight at home and to determine whether your vision has changed, is to use an Amsler grid.
Ophthalmologists often use an Amsler grid to test for early signs of AMD and to check if your condition has changed in any way. It is a simple square grid with a dot in the middle and is designed to show problem spots in your field of vision. We recommend that you use it daily as a way of checking if your vision has changed.
How to use the Amsler grid test
Wearing your reading glasses, hold the grid at normal reading distance in good light.
Cover one eye with your hand.
Look directly at the center dot and try to stay focused on it.
While looking directly at the dot, notice if all grid lines look straight or if any lines or areas look distorted, blurry, wavy, dark or blank.
Follow the same steps with the other eye.
If you notice any irregularities such as blank areas or parts which look black or blurry, report it to your eye doctor immediately. Mark the areas of the chart that you're not seeing correctly and bring it with you when you next visit your doctor.
NOTE: Conducting an Amsler test at home does not replace a routine eye test at your opticians.
How to protect your vision
There are few early AMD symptoms, therefore it is important to have your eyes tested regularly. There aren't any ways to cure AMD but fortunately it progresses very slowly, so the best advice is to avoid things that may speed up the progression of the disease and to take appropriate steps such as:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy weight
Wear sunglasses with full UVA and UVB protection
Eating a diet rich in vitamins such as lutein, zeaxanthin and Omega 3. These can be found in eggs, oily fish and brightly coloured vegetables i.e.spinach, bell peppers and kale.
Regular eye tests
OcuPlan's mission is to protect people’s vision by making eye care more accessible and affordable for the millions of patients in the UK who require monitoring for long-term eye conditions such as AMD. To find out more call us on 0207 173 5200.