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Macular degeneration is an eye disease that results in blurring of the central vision. The blurring occurs due to damage to the macula—the small section at the back of an individual’s eye. The macula helps see fine details on objects the eyes focus on. Macular degeneration makes it difficult to perform tasks that need sharp central vision.
Activities such as reading, driving, and facial recognition become difficult. Side vision remains unaffected by the condition, so it does not cause complete vision loss. It helps to know when to go for a test for macular degeneration.
Several symptoms can indicate that you have macular degeneration. Symptoms include dim or fuzzy central vision, straight lines appearing curved or wavy, and objects appearing smaller, warped, or distorted.
Other symptoms are blank or blind spots, requiring more light and difficulty seeing faces with clarity. The symptoms usually vary depending on the type of AMD the patient has. Dry AMD symptoms develop slowly while wet AMD occurs suddenly.
AMD results from damage to the nerve cells that detect light, occurring in the eye macula. The process that results in this damage is different, depending on the type of macular degeneration. For dry AMD, the process is gradual as the cells begin to thin and break down.
Waste deposits accumulate in the back of the eye, damaging the macular. In dry AMD, growing abnormal blood vessels at the back of the eye causes the damage. The blood vessels break and leak fluid into the macula. This causes damage to the macula and distorts the central vision.
An eye specialist can detect AMD during a regular eye exam. The specialist will ask about symptoms, past eye issues, and other existing health conditions. The doctor may then conduct vision tests to diagnose the condition.
The tests include a visual acuity test to check central vision, an ophthalmoscopy test, and an Amsler grid test. Other tests conducted include optical coherence tomography (OCT) or eye angiogram to look for abnormal vessels.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends individuals over the age of 40 go for regular tests. A comprehensive eye exam every two to four years will help detect the disease in its early stages.
People over 65 should get comprehensive eye exams every two years. Those between 55 and 64 should get the exams every three years. Individuals between 40 to 54 years should have them every two to four years.
There is currently no cure for AMD, but there are treatments that can help delay vision loss. If you have the condition, the doctor can refer you to specialists who can help you adjust to low vision.
Dry MD can develop into wet MD, so it is necessary to get regular eye exams. Some vitamin and mineral supplements can help slow down vision loss. The doctor can also prescribe medications or photodynamic therapy to slow the condition. Early detection for AMD is vital for effective treatment.
For more on when to be tested for macular degeneration, visit Primary Eye Care at our office in Tupelo, Mississippi. You can call (662) 200-9842 today to schedule an appointment.