Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a common eye condition and leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 years and older. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the centre of the retina and is the part of the eye needed to sharpen, central vision, allowing us to see objects that are straight ahead.

Macular degeneration develops over time and gradually becomes more severe. Coping with macular degeneration and vision loss is a traumatic experience. Having low vision can mean that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, everyday activities such as reading the mail, shopping, cooking and writing are challenging.

Macular degeneration significantly decreases an individual's functional ability and independence. Our Occupational Therapy in low vision rehabilitation enhances performance in specific activities of daily living by training skills that are dependent on residual vision, such as, reading, and writing. Our Occupational Therapists will also conduct environmental assessments in the home and in the workplace or school to improve and promote a safe environment. Rehabilitation programmes for orientation and mobility, driving and vision rehabilitation therapy can also be developed by our Occupational Therapist, all of which aim to reduce the impact macular degeneration can have on an individual's day to day living.

Problems associated with condition

Although macular degeneration is almost never a totally blinding condition, it can be a source if significant visual disability. Over time as the condition progresses it can impact on an individual's abilities to:

  • Mobilising in and around the home
  • Performing everyday activities- grooming, dressing, washing
  • Making phone calls
  • Grocery shopping
  • Writing skills
  • Reading

Due to the progressive nature of macular degeneration and itsaffectson an individual's ability to see, it's strongly advised to seek early detection and treatment. Our Occupational Therapy interventions havebeen shown to enhance an individual's life satisfaction and identity, and increase functional independence amongst those with macular degeneration. This is achieved through the use of a variety methods for example, adapting the physical environment to maximise function, education on how to grade daily living activities and through promoting healthy living.

Our Occupational Therapists are highly skilled and knowledgeable and provide interventions that are very effective amongst individuals with macular degeneration. Our treatments are individualised and tailored to each individual's specific needs and their specific contexts.

How can these difficulties impact on function?

Macular degeneration has a profound impact on the individual diagnosed as well as members of their family. It can greatly affect an individual's ability to function independently and complete the everyday activities they once took for granted. A summary of how macular degeneration can affect the different aspects of an individual's life is demonstrated below:


  • Difficulties cooking
  • Difficulties reading bills and letters
  • Difficulties with written communication
  • Difficulties washing and dressing independently
  • Difficulties mobilising in and around the home
  • Risk of falls and injury


  • Stigma
  • Difficulties socialising
  • Difficulties accessing public transport
  • Feelings of frustration

Safety is a major concern for our Occupational Therapists when treating those with macular degeneration. Being home alone becomes a huge safety issue as individualsare at high risk of falls, due to limited vision. Our Occupational Therapists can reduce this risk through making small and large home adaptations and through safety education.

What exactly is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects a person's ability to see what is directly in front of them (central vision).

The macula is a small vital part of the retina, used to focus incoming rays of light. It plays an essential role in shaping vision allowing individuals see objects directly in front of them and process fine details and colour.

Macular degeneration develops when the macula is unable to function as effectively as it used to. There are two main types of macular degeneration call dry and wet.

Dry macular degeneration develops when the cells of the macula become damaged and as a result cause a build-up of waste products called dursen.

Wet macular degeneration develops when abnormal blood vessels form underneath the macula and damage its cells.

That exact cause of macular degeneration is still very unclear, however a number of things have been shown to increase an individual's risk of developing the disease. These risk factors include:

  • Age - more common in individuals over the age of 50 years old
  • Family history - has been shown to run in families
  • Gender - affects more women than men
  • Ethnicity - more common amongst white and Chinese ethnicity

Other possible risk factorsinclude, alcohol, sunlight, smoking, obesity and high blood pressure and heart disease.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of visual impairment in the UK, affecting around 500,000 individuals to some degree. Seeking early detection and treatment for macular degeneration has shown to reduce the progression of the disease and in some cases increase an individual's level of vision.

Occupational Therapy assessments suitable for Macular degeneration

Our Occupational Therapists complete a variety of assessmentsin order to gather the relevant information needed to design a treatment planbest suited to the needs of an individual with macular degeneration, below is a summary of the most common assessment used for such individual's:

  • Cognitive assessments
  • Functional assessment
  • Activities of daily living assessments
  • Aids and adaptations assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • Work place assessment

Non-standardised assessments which involve interviewing and observing an individual and their family members is also an essential tool when gathering relevant information. This enable our Occupational Therapists to not only asses an individual's functional abilities but also take into account their coping strategies, care needs and interests.

Occupational therapy treatment available

Our Occupational Therapy treatments aim at increasing an individual's abilities to engage in everyday living though occupation. We utilise crucial enablement skills and promote the health and well-being of each individual we treat. Our treatments for individuals with macular degeneration look at improving the following:

  • Functional independence
  • Safety
  • Feeding, dressing and washing abilities
  • Families understanding of the effects of the condition

Our Occupational Therapy treatments are specially designed to meet the needs of each and every individual we treat. Our treatments have been shown to improve functional abilities and functional independence along with enhancing overall life satisfaction amongst individuals with macular degeneration.


Vision rehabilitation enables individuals with low vision to learn new strategies to accomplish their daily activities effectively. With new techniques and devices, individuals can regain their confidence and live independently.

Our Occupational Therapy is a skilled health, rehabilitation and educational service that helps individuals across the lifespan participate in things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).

How to arrange to see an occupational therapist?

If you are interested in receiving Occupational Therapy to enhance yours or a family members independence and functional abilities then please feel free to email us at or Call us on 02033 937 332



London OT offer and provide a range of Occupational Therapy services for individuals with a variety of conditions.

We Work With