Have you or a loved one suffered with macular degeneration? Macular degeneration symptoms can seem fuzzy at first. If you are in the early stages of macular degeneration, you may experience no symptoms at all. Or you may brush it off as your eyes being ‘tired’ or ‘off.’ Here is what you need to know about this progressive disease of the eye.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
When you do start showing macular degeneration symptoms, they can seem minor or vague. At first, you may notice either a gradual or sudden change in your vision quality. You may also notice that straight lines appear to be slightly wavy or distorted. However, this initial change in eyesight can gradually develop into a dramatic loss of your central vision.
Some other macular degeneration symptoms include seeing dark or blurry areas within your field of vision. You may notice a marked whiteout that appears in the center of your vision—or loss of your central vision altogether. And in rare cases, you may experience a change in how you perceive colors.
If you are experiencing any of these macular degeneration symptoms, please make an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.
Sudden changes in vision
Gradual changes in vision
Straight lines seem wavy or distorted
Dark, blurry areas
Whiteout in the center of your vision
Loss of central vision
Change in how you see colors (rarely)
Macular Degeneration Treatment
Once your optometrist or ophthalmologist examines your eyes, they can determine whether you have macular degeneration or another eye condition. You care provider will be able to discuss any potential treatment options with you, including the possibility of surgery to restore all or part of your vision.
Macular Degeneration Prevention
Since macular degeneration is typically age related, it’s important to stay on top of your eye health. Those who are aged 45 or older should have a regular eye exam at least every two to four years. And if you have a history of macular degeneration in your family, you should schedule a visit every year to be sure that you aren’t showing any early signs.
At home, you can check your vision daily or weekly using an Amsler Grid. Eye doctors will use this grid to test for macular degeneration as well as other eye diseases. It’s important to note that using the Amsler Grid test at home doesn’t replace your regularly scheduled visit to your optometrist.
How to Use the Amsler Grid Test
1. Test your eyes under normal room lighting used for reading. 2. If you use glasses for reading (prescription or store bought), use them for the test. 3. Hold the Amsler Grid approximately 14–16 inches from your face. 4. Cup your hand over one eye. 5. Keep your uncovered eye focused on the dot in the center of the grid.
Do any of the lines in the grid look wavy, blurred or distorted?
Do all of the boxes in the grid appear square? The same size?
Are there any ‘holes’ in your vision? (Light or dark areas)
Can you see all corners and sides of the grid (while focusing on the central dot)?
6. Cover the opposite eye and repeat.
If you answered yes to any of the questions in Step 5 for either eye, make an appointment right away. We want to catch macular degeneration in the earliest stage possible to help you retain your best vision possible.