Macula Month 2020

28 May 2020

Millie Meegan

Macular Month is about reminding us of the importance of eye health, especially inside our eyes. When light enters our eyes through the pupil, it’s focussed on the back of the eye, or the retina. There’s a central and highly sensitive part of the retina called the macula, and it’s this that we use to look at objects in the middle of our field of view. The light that falls on the retina is converted into electrical signals and interpreted by our brain. Without it, we wouldn’t see a thing.

In Australia, we are especially susceptible to UV damage.1 It’s invisible light that enters through the pupil with the rest of the visible spectrum of light making up our world. This, along with other risk factors like poor diet and smoking, can lead to the development of conditions like age-related macular degeneration, or ARMD.2 It’s important to wear polarised UV sunglasses, eat more green vegetables, and have regular check-ups with your optometrist to check for signs of ARMD. Luckily, ARMD can be managed, and depending on the type it may even be as simple as taking a tablet every day, known as Macutec.3 Similarly, cookbooks have been published by the Macula Disease Foundation Australia to make sure your diet sustains your macular health.

Other conditions can also affect the macula. Some are associated with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, others are genetic, and others occur randomly.4 It’s essential to have regular check-ups with your optometrist so they can continue to assess the back of your eye and monitor its health. Both our practices at Innovative Eye Care are equipped with state-of-the-art OCTs, which allows us to look through the tissue layers of your eyes for any hidden signs of disease, and both have fundus photography, letting us detect, identify and monitor issues at the macula. At our Adelaide City practice, we use OCT-A, giving us the technology to detect tiny changes in the eye’s blood vessels associated with disease before any physical or visual change occurs. To have your macula checked, contact us to make an appointment or book online.

References
  1. Gies P, Roy C, Javorniczky J, Henderson S, Lemus-Deschamps L, Driscoll C. Global Solar UV Index: Australian measurements, forecasts and comparison with the UK. Photochem Photobiol 2004 Jan;79(1):32-9.
  2. Chalam KV, Khetpal V, Rusovici R, Balaiya S. A review: role of ultraviolet radiation in age-related macular degeneration. Eye Contact Lens. 2011;37(4):225‐232.
  3. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS): design implications. AREDS report no. 1. Control Clin Trials. 1999;20(6):573‐600.
  4. BowlingB and Kanski J, 2015. Kanski’s Clinical Ophthalmology. 8th ed. Elsevier.