3. One in seven Aussies over 50 is affected by Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
AMD is a chronic eye disease, which if left unchecked, may cause blindness. It’s also the leading cause of blindness in Australia.
The macula is the part of your eye used for sharp, central vision. AMD causes the macula to deteriorate, and over time leads to blurred sight, and even black spots in your central vision.
This makes it hard to drive, read and recognise people’s faces. It’s a scary thought for a lot of us, isn’t it? And it’s particularly hard to watch a loved one going through it.
As a quick explainer, the stages of AMD are:
Early and intermediate AMD: caused by the continual build-up of waste product (called ‘drusen’) underneath the macula.
Late AMD: may be atrophic (dry), or neovascular (wet).
- Dry AMD is caused by the gradual loss of cells in your macula, leading to a gradual loss of central vision.
- Wet AMD is caused by new, abnormal blood vessels growing under the macula, which can leak blood and fluid.
But please don’t panic – now you know what it is, you may want to share the following advice with anyone you know who’s over the age of 50.