Diagnosing and Caring for Macular Degeneration

Diagnosing and Caring for Macular Degeneration

Diagnosing and Caring for Macular Degeneration

Diagnosing and Caring for Macular Degeneration

If you experience blurring of the central vision, there’s a chance you suffer from macular degeneration. The blurring occurs due to damage to the macula, or the back section of your eye that helps you see the fine detail your eyes focus upon. AMD (age-related macular degeneration) makes it difficult to perform tasks that require sharp central vision, such as reading and driving.


Types of Macular Degeneration


There are two types of AMD, wet and dry. Dry MD is more common than wet MD, but it happens faster and is more severe. The condition does not affect your side vision, meaning it does not lead to total blindness. The disease often affects one eye, but over time can affect the other eye, as well.


How Is AMD Diagnosed?


An eye doctor usually detects AMD during a regular eye examination by inquiring about symptoms, previous eye issues, and other health complications. Here are some tests that doctors use:

  • Visual acuity test: Eye doctors use visual acuity tests to check the central vision. The tests involve covering one eye and reading letters on a chart about 20 feet away. The visual acuity test measures whether the vision has worsened since the last exam, as it does for someone with AMD. Doctors also test the visual field, both central and side vision.

  • Ophthalmoscopy: This test allows the doctor to examine the eye’s inside to look for signs of AMD. The doctor will look for yellow-white spots that occur under the retina called drusen. Large amounts of the drusen indicate AMD. You should know those small drusen may appear in the eye as a result of the normal aging process.

  • Amsler grid test: This test uses a grid to detect wet AMD. When a patient has wet AMD, lines on the grid appear curved or wavy. A hole or blank spot may also appear on part of the grid.

  • Additional tests: Other tests may be used to diagnose the condition. An Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) or eye angiogram can look for abnormal blood vessel growth under the macula. This test helps diagnose wet AMD. A doctor might perform a low vision evaluation when signs of vision loss are detected.


Treating Macular Degeneration


There is no known cure for AMD. However, some treatments delay vision loss, and some professionals specialize in helping individuals adjust to life with AMD. Using an Amsler grid at home can be helpful. In some cases, dry AMD can develop into a more serious wet AMD. There are vitamin and mineral supplements that can slow vision loss. Wet AMD is often treated with anti-VEGF injections into the eye.

If you have dry AMD, it is important to follow the doctor’s advice to care for the condition. Talk to the doctor about the right supplements to avoid harmful side effects.

Learn more about diagnosing & care for macular degeneration, visit Longview Eye Associates in Longview, Texas at (903) 417-0070 to book an appointment today.

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