All You Need To Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Your central vision is impacted by an eye disorder known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Persons with this illness are unable to perceive objects or people in front of them. If you notice symptoms of AMD or have a high risk of developing this eye condition, you should see an eye doctor. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about AMD.

What Are the Types of AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration can be classified as either dry or wet. Dry or atrophic AMD occurs when the macula of your eye deteriorates with age. The three stages of dry AMD are early, intermediate, and late AMD. This condition develops slowly over several years. While there is no cure for AMD, your optometrist can save your remaining vision. Furthermore, if you have AMD in one eye, your eye doctor can take measures to protect your other eye.

Wet AMD, or advanced neovascular AMD, is a severe form of AMD that results in faster vision loss. Dry AMD can progress into wet AMD. Wet AMD develops when blood vessels grow behind the eye and obstruct the macula.

What Are the Risk Factors for AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration mainly affects the elderly. Other risk factors include being overweight and having hypertension. Genetics also plays a crucial role in the development of AMD. Therefore, if someone in your family has AMD, you will likely get it. Smokers and people who eat foods rich in saturated fats also stand a high chance of getting AMD.

What Are the Symptoms of AMD?

Macular degeneration gets worse over time. Therefore, early treatment is the best way to control the disease. You should familiarize yourself with the symptoms of both dry and wet AMD. If you have dry AMD, you will notice a reduction in your central vision and the need for bright lights. People with dry AMD also experience blurriness and problems adjusting to low lights. Other symptoms include difficulty recognizing faces and damage to the retina.

Some of the symptoms of wet AMD are similar to those of dry AMD. These include reduced central vision and visual distortions. Other symptoms of wet AMD are blurry spots, hazy vision, and a dark spot in your vision because of bleeding blood vessels. 

How Is AMD Diagnosed?

When performing eye tests for AMD, your optometrist will look for changes to the macula and retina. The most common eye tests are the visual field and dilated eye exams. During the visual field test, your eye doctor will instruct you to identify lines on an Amsler grid that look broken, wavy, or blurry. The grid consists of straight lines with a large dot in the center. If you see a lot of distortion on the grid, it means you have AMD.

The dilated eye exam is where your doctor administers eye drops to dilate your pupils. When your pupils are dilated, your eye doctor peers inside your eyes using a special lens. This helps them identify issues with the macula.

For more information, contact an eye doctor near you.