What is the macula ?
The macula is the central part of the retina. It is located directly behind the pupil at the very back of the eye. Light entering the eye is focused on a point called the fovea at the centre of the macula.
The macula is the most sensitive part of the retina as it sub-serves detailed vision and colour vision. You read, recognise faces, thread a needle, drive a car and watch TV with your macula. Diseases of the macula can affect all of these functions.
The commonest symptom experienced with macular pathology is metamorphopsia, where straight lines appear wavy or bent. People suffering from diseases of the macula can also complain of difficulty with near visual tasks , such as reading due to a black or grey area in the centre of the vision. Some patients with macular disease will report blurred vision . Unfortunately, in most cases spectacle correction will not assist in making the vision clearer.
What conditions can affect the macula?
The most common conditions affecting the macula include:
What tests are available for my macular condition?
During your visit with Dr Kert, you may be advised of further testing that may be needed to achieve a more complete examination of this very important location . Other tests recommended may include
You will be provided with information about these tests prior to proceeding.
When you come in to the clinic your macular condition will be assessed. Dr Kert will then discuss your condition with you and in many cases offer you options for treatment on the same day. These most likely will include a recommendation to undertake intravitreal therapy. This is a procedure by which a therapeutic medicine is injected via a very tiny needle into the back of the eye (vitreous cavity) to treat swelling of the macula (macula oedema). This procedure is carried out in the fully equipped treatment room under sterile conditions. It is done under topical local anaesthetic and usually takes a few minutes to complete. It is common to experience some pressure and slight discomfort momentarily during the procedure. It is surprisingly well tolerated and Dr Kert and her staff will guide you through this experience in a gentle and professional manner. We are always happy to take the time to explain the procedure to you and answer all your questions along the way .
What treatments are available?
The most common treatments usually offered are
- Intravitreal therapy
- Retinal laser
Treating macular disease usually entails a long-term partnership between the patient and treating doctor . Therapy for macular disease can be burdensome for patients and relatives alike. In many cases treatment will need to be persistent, periodic and sometimes last many years. At Darling Downs Eye we understand this and endeavour at all times to care for you and support you in maintaining therapy long term. We know from scientific research that patients who persist with recommended therapy have the best visual outcomes in the long term.
We always offer the latest evidence-based treatments to maximise your vision and will discuss alternative treatment options where they exist .
We can enrol you in support programs as indicated and also encourage access to low visual aides and assessments as necessary.
Here at Darling Downs Eye , Dr Kert and her team will hold your hand as together we negotiate your macular disease.