Macular Degeneration-Symptoms & Diagnosis

Friday, August 26, 2011

Macular Degeneration Symptoms & Diagnosis

Macular Degeneration is related to aging and therefore is called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Patients with macular degeneration may begin to notice problems with eyesight sometime after the age of fifty. AMD could be hereditary so blood relatives should have their eyes examined every year after the age of fifty.

AMD usually starts with the appearance of yellow-colored spots in the macula. These spots, caused by the buildup of fatty deposits, are called drusen. Drusen do not usually change vision very much and only a few people with drusen alone develop severe AMD with loss of vision. When macular degeneration does lead to loss of vision, that loss usually starts in one eye but later may affect the other eye. When a person loses vision in one eye, the loss of vision may not be noticed because the healthy eye can still see detail. It is only when AMD severely affects both eyes that it will become difficult to do the kind of work that requires central vision, vision that can discern fine detail.

A person with advanced AMD, who has lost the ability to see detail with each eye, rarely loses peripheral vision and will still be able to get along fairly well. Macular degeneration almost never causes total blindness. Majority of patients can see well enough to take care of themselves and continue those activities that do not require detail central vision. The ability to look slightly off center usually improves with time, although eyesight will never be as good as before the macula was damaged.

If you are concerned about macular degeneration or have relatives who have it please call Doctor and Associates to evaluate the condition of your eye health.