What is the macular?
If you think of a straight line going through your eye, it will land at the back at the eye. The spot where it lands is called the Macular.
What is the function of the macular?
The macular gives the best vision, colour vision as well as reading vision.
Diseases affecting the macular.
The macular is affected by many diseases. The commonest are age related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects Caucasians and Asians much more commonly that Africans . It leads to loss of central vision and reading vision. The macular is also commonly affected by diabetes. In this case, the macula swells due to diabetes related damage and the patient loses detailed vision as well as reading vision. However, are other causes of macula abnormalities.
Symptoms of macular diseases.
In the early stages of the disease there are no significant symptoms. The first symptom is usually distorted straight lines. This will progress to loss of central vision. Other symptoms include dark blurry areas or white out areas appearing in the central vision, inability to read despite the use of reading glasses and diminished perception of colour.
Who is at risk?
Population based studies have shown a higher prevalence of macular diseases in Asians and Caucasian more than other population groups. The risk also is higher in those of 50yrs and above.
Visual loss is permanent.
Early diagnosis with aid of an OCT machine and treatment of this condition can prevent visual loss. Treatment may be by laser and / or injections into the eye of drugs that stop the progression of AMD.This treatment was previously available abroad but it is now available in Kenya.
What should you do?
Every person 50years and above should have an annual AMD eye screeing examination. It takes less than one hour and can save you from many years of blindness. The specialized equipment for the screening was only available in South Africa but is now available at UHEAL (Upper Hill and Laser Centre).