The Macular disease Society defines Macular Degeneration as
‘Macular Degeneration (MD) or macular disease are collective terms for conditions which lead to a loss of central vision due to damage to the macular, a small part of the retina which lines the back of the eye’
It is the most common cause of visual impairment in the developed world and yet many people have never heard of it. I was first aware of an impairment in my left eye following a long flight to Australia. I put this down to the flight and although I was worried I was too far from a hospital to do anything about it. I hoped it would improve.
On my return to England three weeks later I went through a number of hoops trying to find out what was wrong before my GP referred me to A & E at the Eye Hospital who eventually, after several scans, diagnosed Wet Macular Degeneration. Although this is serious it does lend itself to treatment. At that time the treatment was not available on the NHS so I saw a consultant privately and , at great expense, she was able to give me Lucentis injections in the eye. Unfortunately, it was too late and I have no central vision in my left eye.
If any of the readers of this blog notice any distortion in their vision seek advice immediately. Fast treatment could save your sight. For me it can look as if I’m seeing something under water. I had hoped to include a diagram here for testing but unfortunately wordpress print is too small for me to see the uploading instructions on this occasion. Basically, all you need to do is look at a grid with straight lines and if they are distorted get your eyes checked.
Three years after the loss of central vision in my left eye my right eye started to bother me. It was confirmed that I had developed WMD in this eye as well. Luckily by this time NICE had decreed that Lucentis injections could be administered on the NHS. Since then I have received 9 injections and wonderful treatment, with regular scans at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
I have written this blog because it was drawn to my attention that I had nt explained the MD condition and because I believe more people should know about it so that they can get treatment quickly. You will notice that I have glossed over the injections. Yes, it is true the injections are straight into the eye but plenty of local anaesthetic is applied and my consultant is so quick that I don’t feel a thing. In fact it is much less painful than the dentist and the results are wonderful.
My vision is somewhat distorted. Focussing can be difficult. Letters become fragmented and faces blurred. I don’t always recognise people until they are quite close and I hog the television set by sitting near. Cinemas are OK and my peripheral vision is fine. Incidentally, for parents reading this, my optometrist says it is a myth that sitting close to the tv damages your eyes! Thank goodness for Kindle and ipad with their facilities for altering size of print and for FOCUS for lending me a superb magnifying glass and for their eye sight testing facilities and advice.
Doubtless there will be times in this blog when the topic of WMD will come up. This may lead to repetition but I am aweare that it is such a feature of my life that this is bound to happen. Apoloogies.
I am not an e expert on the subject but will be happy to share my experience with anyone who has questions.