What Are Macular Degeneration Symptoms?

Table of Contents

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition which gradually blurs your sharp, central vision. AMD destroys part of your retina called the macula which is necessary for reading, driving and seeing fine details.

AMD occurs most frequently as dry macular degeneration, when the macula thins over time. Wet AMD develops when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid into it, potentially leading to permanent blindness.

Blurred or hazy vision

Macular degeneration often manifests itself in blurry or hazy vision due to cell loss in the macula which aid in fine detail vision, eventually leading to central vision loss that makes reading or driving a car difficult. Blurry vision often worsens in dim lighting due to damaged cells failing to send clear signals back to your brain when darkness settles in.

At first, blurry vision from macular degeneration may only be mild and may clear with eye exercises or treatment, but as it progresses it can worsen to the point of blindness in both eyes. Recognize early warning signs and seek medical help immediately as early diagnosis will yield more successful treatments.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye condition that destroys sharp central vision over time, often leading to blindness in those aged 55 or over. The breakdown of macula responsible for central vision means reading, driving and other activities that require clear sight may become impossible without sharp vision. AMD can lead to blindness.

Macular degeneration begins with dry AMD, in which yellow deposits under the retina known as drusen start forming. While this typically does not cause any noticeable loss of vision, it should serve as an early warning sign that your eye health could be at risk.

As dry macular degeneration progresses, your vision may gradually deteriorate as more light-sensing cells in your macula stop functioning properly and stop sensing light. At its worst, reading or recognising faces becomes difficult while straight lines appear crooked.

Around 10% of people with advanced macular degeneration also suffer from wet AMD, where abnormal blood vessels form under the retina and leak fluid into the macula. Wet AMD may occur either alongside dry AMD, or it can develop spontaneously; if sudden blurriness arises unexpectedly it’s wise to seek medical advice as this could indicate stroke, high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia), or another illness affecting blood vessels in your eye.

Blind spots

Macular degeneration symptoms that frequently manifest themselves include central blind spots. They’re caused by light-sensing cells in the retina becoming inoperable due to breakdown of cells within the macula; as a result, central vision becomes blurry, distorted, and straight lines appear crooked, but peripheral (side) vision remains undisturbed.

While the exact causes of macular degeneration remain elusive, a variety of factors likely play a part. Aging, tissue thinning, deposits of pigment in the macula and genetics all could play a part. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet; in the former case ophthalmologists use yellow deposits underneath the retina called “drusen” as indicators to determine whether it’s early or advanced stages.

Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels form beneath the retina and leak fluid into the macula, distorting vision. It’s more severe than its dry counterpart as it can lead to fast and irreparable loss of central vision.

Laser photocoagulation was once the only viable treatment option for wet macular degeneration; however, photodynamic therapy (PDT), with less risk to retinal tissue, may sometimes restore some central vision. PDT uses drugs that cause blood vessels to leak followed by light treatment to destroy those leaky blood vessels without harming surrounding healthy tissue.

To protect your vision, regular visits to an eye care professional are key. Dilation exams can detect subtle changes in the macula that you might otherwise miss and could help slow or reverse macular degeneration progression. Furthermore, monitoring eye health over time requires comprehensive eye exams – including dilation exams – which provide accurate information.

Difficulty reading

Macular degeneration affects your central vision, making it harder for you to see fine details when looking at objects close up or far away, which may make some activities like threading needles or reading more challenging or impossible. Though macular degeneration can be frustrating, it does not result in total blindness so those experiencing symptoms should seek medical help immediately from either their primary physician or eye care professional.

Early signs of macular degeneration include blurry central vision, most easily seen when reading or looking at faces, or when straight lines appear wavy or bent. This early stage can be caused by either dry or wet macular degeneration; with wet AMD often occurring due to abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina leaking blood and fluid from leakage under its retina, causing it to raise from its normal location at the back of eyeball. Both types do not cause pain; usually progress slowly over time.

If you have a family history of macular degeneration, are over age 60, or overweight, it would be wise to undergo regular eye examinations in order to detect early signs of macular degeneration and potentially take steps to slow its progress if wet form of the disease is suspected.

Although wet macular degeneration is incurable, you can slow its progression by taking vitamins such as C, E, lutein and zeaxanthin which have proven their efficacy against it. Your doctor can also perform fluorescein angiography – injecting yellow dye into a vein before inspecting your retina with special equipment – before prescribing supplements that may aid.

Loss of central vision

Macular degeneration affects the central portion of our retina which allows us to see fine details such as faces, straight lines and text. Macular degeneration may result in gradual but progressive loss of central vision that makes certain activities such as threading a needle or reading difficult; however, peripheral (side) vision remains normal; for example when looking at a clock you may still be able to see its numbers but not its hands.

Age-related macular degeneration comes in two forms – dry and wet. Most cases are classified as dry macular degeneration which is marked by tiny yellow or white spots known as drusen which accumulate under the retina as deposits of fatty proteins that build up over time. Sometimes they’re accompanied by fluid leakage from abnormal blood vessels forming underneath.

Wet macular degeneration (WMD) is less common but more severe. With wet AMDR, weak new blood vessels form under the retina but leak blood that damages macula cells. Fundus Fluorescein Angiography allows doctors to easily detect such weak vessels; during this procedure harmless dye is injected into vein and photographed while it travels through retinal blood vessels under retina.

If you exhibit one or more of the symptoms outlined above, we strongly encourage you to visit our office for a comprehensive eye exam with dilation. We can assess if you are early stages of macular degeneration and offer treatments options.

Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of specific vitamins and minerals to combat macular degeneration, including vitamins C and E, lutein/zeaxanthin/zinc and copper. We recommend eating foods high in these nutrients while supplementation may also be beneficial. In addition, an Amsler grid test is often administered to detect changes to your retina’s macular area.

About the Author:
Picture of Alexander Suprun

Alexander Suprun

Alex started his first web marketing campaign in 1997 and continues harvesting this fruitful field today. He helped many startups and well-established companies to grow to the next level by applying innovative inbound marketing strategies. For the past 26 years, Alex has served over a hundred clients worldwide in all aspects of digital marketing and communications. Additionally, Alex is an expert researcher in healthcare, vision, macular degeneration, natural therapy, and microcurrent devices. His passion lies in developing medical devices to combat various ailments, showcasing his commitment to innovation in healthcare.


Stop It Now...

Related Posts
shop cartShop Best Low-Vision Aids with FREE Doctor Consultation.Yes! Let's Go