Macular degeneration can affect one or both eyes and typically causes problems with your central vision. You may notice that reading and close work become difficult, and there may be blank areas or a grey or black spot in the centre of your vision.
Your peripheral or ‘side’ vision will usually remain unaffected if you suffer from macular degeneration. This means that even people with severe macular degeneration, whose central vision is badly affected, can usually still get about and look after themselves quite well.
The symptoms are quite similar to those of a macular hole. Still, an eye specialist will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis.
There are two types of macular degeneration – wet and dry.
Dry AMD is the most common form of macular degeneration and affects around 85 to 90% of people with AMD. Vision loss is usually gradual and occasionally severe. However, it can change into wet AMD.
Wet AMD is the more aggressive form of macular degeneration and can lead to rapid and severe vision loss. However, it only occurs in 10 to 15% of AMD sufferers.
In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the macula. These can leak fluid and blood, causing permanent damage to the retina. Wet AMD symptoms include a reduction of central vision and distortion of vision, which can make straight lines (such as window frames, telegraph poles or lines of text) look bent or wavy.
The Amsler Grid is a simple test that will help you determine if your vision is distorted in this way. You can test yourself here
The image below shows an Amsler Grid with straight lines as seen by a normal-sighted person.
The image below shows an Amsler Grid with a distorted grid pattern. This includes bent lines, irregular box shapes, and grey shaded areas, as seen by a person with macular degeneration.
To diagnose macular degeneration, our eye specialist must examine your eyes. To do this, they will need to use drops to dilate the pupil to thoroughly check the retina, which is at the back of the eye. They may also use special scanning and imaging devices during the assessment to provide further clinical information.
Many people do not realise they are suffering from macular degeneration until the symptoms become very obvious. Early detection and treatment can help slow down and even stop macular degeneration and could save your sight. It’s therefore important to see an eye specialist for regular check-ups, especially if you notice any changes in your vision.
If you or someone you know has experienced a change in vision in one or both eyes and has symptoms like a central blur or decreased intensity of colour and distortion this may indicate macular degeneration (MD). You must get it seen today. We provide some of the most advanced treatments available.
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Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is an acquired degeneration of the retina that causes significant central visual impairment through a combination of non-neovascular (drusen and retinal pigment epithelium abnormalities), and neovascular derangement (choroidal neovascular membrane formation). Advanced disease may involve focal areas of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) loss, subretinal or sub-RPE hemorrhage or serous fluid, as well as subretinal fibrosis. Click here to read more.