Being told you have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be frustrating and upsetting, as simple everyday tasks such as reading become more difficult.
Speak to your GP if macular degeneration is having a significant effect on your daily life. They should be able to put you in touch with local support groups, who can provideguidance and practical help.
Alternatively, you could call theMacular Society helpline on 0300 3030 111 (openMonday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or theRoyal National Institute of Blind People helpline on 0303 123 9999 (open Monday to Friday,8.45am to 5.30pm).
It's estimated around a third of people with AMD may have some form ofdepression or anxiety.
If you're struggling with the changes to your life, you should speak to your GP or ophthalmologist (eye specialist). They'll be able to discuss treatment options with you, such as counselling, or they can refer you to amental health professional for further assessment.
You'll need to inform theDVLA and your insurance company if you're diagnosed with AMD and you drive, as the condition may affect your ability to drive.
If your eyesight is only slightly affected, it may still be safe for you to drive a vehicle. However, you'll probably need to have a series of sight tests to prove this. Central vision is very important for driving, andyou won't be able to drive if you don't meet the standards set by the DVLA.
The GOV.UK website has more information and advice aboutmacular degeneration and driving.
Some people with macular degeneration experience visual hallucinations caused by their low vision. This is known as Charles Bonnet syndrome. It's estimated about 1 in 10 people with AMD experiences Charles Bonnet syndrome.
As AMD can prevent you from receiving the visual stimulation you're used to, your brain can sometimes compensate by creating fantasy images or using images stored in your memory. These are known as hallucinations.
The hallucinations you experience may include unusual patterns or shapes, animals, faces, or an entire scene. They can be either black and white or colour, and may last from a few minutes to several hours. They're usually pleasant images, although they may be unsettling and scary to experience.
Many people with Charles Bonnet syndrome don't tell their GP about their symptoms because they worry it may be a sign of a mental condition. However, the hallucinations experienced with this syndrome are usually the result of a problem with your vision and not a reflection of your mental state.
Speak to your GP if you experience any kind of visual hallucination. There are ways they can help you learn how to cope. The hallucinations will usually last for around 18 months, although they may last yearsfor some people.
Find out about age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which mainly affects people over 50 years of age and usually leads to a gradual loss of central vision.
Read about the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which causes a loss of central vision that affects your ability to see objects and fine detail clearly.
Read about what causes macular degeneration. Dry AMD is the result of a build-up of waste material in the retina. Wet AMD is caused by tiny blood vessels that grow under the macula.
Find out how macular degeneration is diagnosed using a routine eye test, Amsler grid and retinal imaging techniques.
Read about managing dry AMD, including maximising low vision and dietary advice, plus the two main treatments for wet AMD: anti-VEGF medication and laser surgery.
Read about the possible complications of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), including depression, anxiety and visual hallucinations caused by Charles Bonnet syndrome.