13th Aug 2012, 14:10
I have Age-related Macular Degeneration. This might well mean loss of central vision – not good news. But I am lucky in being able to get the best treatment (Lucentis injection in the eye. It doesn’t hurt. Honest).
Macular degeneration - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macular_degeneration)
Now one of the factors that that apparently can be a factor in causing AMD is excessive exposure to light, particularly at the blue end of the spectrum. Now of course, pilots get plenty of that. I never heard of that risk during my 40-year flying career. I rarely used sunglasses as I found, even with the graduated type, the instrument panel would be too hard to see.
So has there been any research into AMD among aged ex-pilots? And should today’s pilots be encouraged to wear sunglasses? And are windshields providing adequate filtering protection?
Jack (still able to type with both eyes!)
Sir George Cayley
13th Aug 2012, 18:53
A relative suffered from this complaint; but is was put down to smoking. Is it possible that this could be a one added factor?
For my own education what's the difference between wet and dry?
13th Aug 2012, 19:08
And are windshields providing adequate filtering protection?
There are no standards for UV filtering for windscreens. So if you have some great but don't count on it and I'm not sure how you would know!
I've read some stuff on this recently. Found this pdf of powerpoint (http://www.aame.co.uk/aa/files/Adrian%20Chorley.pdf) but I'm sure the presenter (Adrian Chorley) has a paper or two published on this subject. More digging required.
At the F'boro airshow there were some sunglasses people really pushing their stuff on this front. (Really really expensive)
13th Aug 2012, 20:03
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is already the number one reason for visual impairment in the industrialized nations and the magnitude of the problem is predicted to increase dramatically.
The dry form is the most common form and is a fairly stable type of disease. Unfortunately, it might change over time into the wet form, which leads to a rapid reduction of eye sight. The wet form is pathophysiologically determined by activation of neoangiogenesis, leading to the degeneration of the macula. This is actually the process to be stopped by Lucentis.
The reasons for AMD are not completely understood. There are a number of confounding risk factors (e.g. diabetes). I haven't read anything that AMD is more common in pilots, but I have to admit that I didn't do a specific search on the topic yet.
With regard to blue light there is a theory that blue light might activate mercury ions to emit free radicals, thus inducing damage. This theory is NOT widely accepted. Nevertheless, if you would like to protect your eyes from such type of radiation than you would need to use yellow coloured sun glasses targeted at filtering the blue light spectrum. One of the sources of blue light radiation are LCD monitors, so if you believe this theory you should also wear those glasses in front of your computer.
14th Aug 2012, 12:20
Indeed, I knew that smoking was a factor but not guilty of that one.
14th Aug 2012, 14:43
My Mother who is now 88 years old has had Macular Degeneration for years. Certainly never smoked and most certainly not a pilot. As far as I know her Consultant has only ever commented that it is an age related thing.
Regardless, the more information that is available as to possible causes or accelarators of the condition the better for all so that precautions if available can be taken.
14th Aug 2012, 18:32
As far as I know her Consultant has only ever commented that it is an age related thing.
Exactly. We are kept alive today long beyond the expected use-by date so things are bound to go wrong/wear out. That is the marvellous thing about living in then 21st century. I think (?) my brain is still fine but as I approach my 74th birthday, it is not unreasonable to expect the odd part will need servicing/replacing. I can't complain. I am luckier than many.
Jack (still typing with both eyes!)
14th Aug 2012, 19:48
No knowledge about this condition, but may be worth searching some of the medical research database's, such as Medline.
Beware though, it can be difficult sorting out the wheat from the chaff.:)