Quick facts about Macular Degeneration

Responsible for 50% of cases of blindness in Australia

Responsible for 50% of cases of blindness in Australia

The country’s leading cause of legal blindness

The country’s leading cause of legal blindness

Most common cause of blindness in older Australians

Most common cause of blindness in older Australians

Image of the Brisbane skyline

Normal Vision

An example of how the Brisbane skyline might look to someone with Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration

Understanding Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is the most common cause of vision impairment in older Australians and the leading cause of legal blindness in the country. The condition causes the gradual deterioration of the macula, which is a small area at the centre of the retina.

The macula is responsible for the fine detail vision we need for activities like driving, reading and recognising colours. Macular Degeneration typically affects people aged over 50, but it is not a normal consequence of ageing. In some cases, the disease can also affect younger people.

Effects of Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration results in the blurring of a person’s central field of vision, which impacts both near and distance vision. Typically peripheral vision remains, though the condition can lead to partial loss of sight or blind spots in the central vision.

The effects of Macular Degeneration may include:

  • Straight lines appearing distorted or curved
  • Difficulty distinguishing people’s faces
  • Trouble determining colour contrast
  • Not being able to see traffic lights changing colour
  • Problems seeing the edge of steps if there is no colour contrast

People with Macular Degeneration may still be able to move around safely with minimal difficulty, or even be able to pick out items using their peripheral vision.

Michael’s story

“I have Macular Degeneration in both eyes and all I can see is some blurring in my right. My main challenge is doing little things like mowing the lawn, but Guide Dogs are great because they understand what I’m going through.”

Guide Dog handler
Read more

Who is at risk?

There is a higher risk of developing Macular Degeneration if you are aged over 75 years old, are a smoker or have a family history of the condition.

Experiencing difficulty with your vision should never be ignored, no matter how old you are. The earlier the disease is detected, the more likely it is that sight can be saved through preventative management options designed to maintain your vision for as long as possible.

You can help to reduce your risk of Macular Degeneration by following a healthy lifestyle and having your eyes tested regularly.

Image of a medical professional showing a man an image of an eye

Guide Dogs Queensland’s services are a vital part of our local eye care network, helping to ensure vision impaired patients receive the best medical care and the latest rehabilitation expertise and technology.

Martin Hodgson

Alanna is here to chat about your options and help connect you with an expert

Call 1800 810 122
Guide Dogs Queensland Breeding and Training Centre
1978 Gympie Rd, Bald Hills Qld 4036
Monday - Friday | 8:30am - 4:30pm
Contact Client Services online
Portrait image of a female Guide Dogs Queensland team member
Your Support Coordinator

Apply for a service

Get the support you need to make the most out of every day.

Apply now