Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) refers to the breakdown of the macula – a small, but very important area in the back of the eye. The macula provides the sharp, central vision we need for reading, driving and seeing fine detail. Macular degeneration can cause sudden, severe loss of vision in the middle of your visual field.
Are you at risk for AMD?
The major risk factors for acquiring AMD are:
- Over age 60
- Family history of AMD
Other risk factors include:
- Cigarette smoking
If you have any two of these risk factors, you should schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist for an evaluation. (Any one of these top two warrants evaluation.)
Regular medical eye exams can help prevent unnecessary vision loss. The American Academy of Ophthalmology now recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40—the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Macular degeneration reduces vision in the central part of the retina. It usually does not affect the eye's side, or perip
heral, vision. If you notice words looking blurry on a page, a dark or empty area in the center of your vision, or crookedness of straight lines, you may have symptoms of macular degeneration.
When AMD leads to loss of vision, it usually begins in just one eye, though it may affect the other eye later.
You will notice central vision problems more quickly if both eyes have macular degeneration. Many people do not realize that they have a macular problem until blurred vision becomes obvious.
Your ophthalmologist, Eye M.D., can detect early stages of macular degeneration by giving you a simple vision test using a chart called the Amsler grid. See the Amsler grid.
Your doctor may also take special photographs of the eye called fluorescein angiography to find abnormal blood vessels under the retina
|Normal Vision||Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)|