What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a progressive eye disease that primarily affects the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. It is a leading cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 50, impacting activities such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces.

Types of Macular Degeneration:

There are two main types of macular degeneration: dry AMD and wet AMD. Dry AMD, which is more common, occurs when the lightsensitive cells in the macula gradually break down, leading to blurred or distorted vision. Wet AMD, although less common, is more severe and occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina, leaking fluid and blood, causing rapid vision loss.

Causes and Risk Factors

While the exact cause of macular degeneration is not fully understood, several factors can increase the risk of developing the condition. These include age, genetics, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and prolonged exposure to UV light.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration often progresses slowly and may go unnoticed in its early stages. Common symptoms include:

  • Blurred or distorted central vision

  • Difficulty reading or recognizing faces

  • Dark or empty areas in the central vision

  • Straight lines appearing wavy or distorted

Types of Macular Degeneration Tests

Visual Acuity Test

This test measures how well you can see at various distances. It's often performed using an eye chart to assess central vision clarity.

Dilated Eye Exam

During a dilated eye exam, eye drops are used to enlarge the pupil, allowing the eye care professional to examine the retina and optic nerve for signs of Macular Degeneration

Amsler Grid Test:

The Amsler Grid is a tool used to detect distortions or changes in central vision. Patients are asked to focus on the grid while reporting any areas of distortion or missing lines, which may indicate Macular Degeneration.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

OCT is a non-invasive imaging test that provides high-resolution crosssectional images of the retina. It helps detect abnormalities in the macula, such as fluid accumulation or thinning of the retinal layers.

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