Macula Clinic

The Macula Clinic is the only clinic on the Gold Coast dedicated to patients with with age-related macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion, and the swelling of the macula due to diabetes.

As a part of myeyespecialist, the Macula Clinic is also conveniently located within Robina Town Centre with access to ample free parking and a variety of cafés, restaurants and shops.

At the Macula Clinic, we offer a full range of medical and surgical eye treatments, including eye injections for macular degeneration through our day hospital, Gold Coast Eye Hospital. This enables us to offer you full medical and surgical care in the one convenient location.

Health fund cover for injections is available for eligible patients.

At the Macula Clinic, we have…

  • The latest diagnostic methods, including OCT Angiography
  • Health fund cover for injections for eligible patients
  • Macula Health Advisor providing information and practical advice on reducing the risk of disease progression
  • Access to low vision aids and services

At the Macula Clinic, we understand how precious your eyesight is. Your safety, visual results and comfort is our highest priority. We are committed to providing personalised care of the utmost standard.

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about macular degeneration:

Will I go blind?

People with macular degeneration don’t go completely blind. Dry macular degeneration progresses slowly over many years and those with mild disease have only minor visual impairment and often maintain their drivers license, whereas those with more severe AMD can lose their central vision completely. However, even those with severe disease still have peripheral vision which allows them to navigate the space around them. Therefore, people with macular degeneration never lose their sight completely.

Wet AMD progresses quickly, but unlike dry AMD, can be treated. Vast majority of patients who have injections for wet AMD maintain their vision and the deterioration is slowed down significantly.

What is a macula?

A macula is the name of the small area inside the eye that captures images in our central vision (what we see straight ahead).

What is my risk of MD if my parent has it?

People whose parents or siblings have age-related macular degeneration, have 1 in 2 chances of developing the disease. For those at risk, awareness of symptoms and regular checks are very important.

Can anything help me read?

These simple measures are a good start:

  • Good lighting is essential – sunlight or a strong halogen lamp
  • Up-to-date prescription reading glasses
  • High contrast and large print
  • Hand held or desk-mounted magnifiers
  • Electronic devices such as Kindle, iPad or tablet are very useful as the print can be enlarged and brightness and contrast adjusted
  • Audio books are an excellent alternative to print

Vision Australia is an organization dedicated to the support of people with low vision. If you qualify for their services, we would be happy to refer you to them. See their website for more information.

Quantum Vision  have a range of products and services to assist people with low vision. They have a wide range of technology that can assist even those with severe loss of central vision.

What about bionic eye and stem cell treatment?

This technology may benefit people who are completely blind, but as AMD affects only the central vision, current technology is not beneficial.

It is important to remember that the current bionic eye technology is still in the early stages and that the vision produced by bionic eyes is still severely limited, providing only pixilated outlines of the environment. For people with no vision, this is a huge improvement, as it allows them to navigate easier.

There is a lot of promising research taking place in the area of bionic vision. University of Sydney is involved in one such project and are looking to start human trials in the near future. You can read about their project here.

Stem cell technology is showing promise across many fields of medicine including ophthalmology. At the moment, there is no stem cell treatment available to patients with AMD.

Do vitamin supplements prevent MD?

Two large studies, AREDS and AREDS2 looked at how zinc and antioxidants affect the risk of progression of age-related macular degeneration. The study found that people with certain stages of AMD may benefit from these supplements. You can read more about the supplements on the MD Foundation website 

Consult your GP if you are considering taking the supplements as all medication has the potential  for side-effects.

Will I need to have injections forever?

Intravitreal (eye) injections aim to shut down the abnormal blood vessels growing at the macula. The frequency of the injections will depend on how aggressive these new blood vessels are and how much they leak. The injections are given monthly for at least 3 months, often for longer. Once the new blood vessels have been stabilised, the frequency of the injections can be cautiously decreased. Frequent monitoring during this period is essential to find the optimal frequency of injections for your eye. 

Studies have shown that it is safe to extend the interval to three months if there is no sign of disease activity. Some people can safely extend the treatment interval beyond this, but this has to balanced out with the risk of recurrence and there as yet, no research based recommendations about the safety of this approach. It is important to be aware that the disease can return at any stage and that awareness of symptoms and ongoing clinical assessment is required.  The risk of intravitreal injections is very small but should be taken into account when making treatment decisions.