Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among adults 60 and older. Macular degeneration affects details at the center of your line of sight. It doesn’t matter whether what you’re looking at is close by or far away – with macular degeneration, it will be blurry and difficult to see clearly.
The macula is what allows us to have crisp, clear 20/20 vision. It also helps us see the colors around us. It is located at the center of the retina, at the back of each eye. When light enters your eye, it is directed to the retina, where light rays are converted into electrical signals, which the brain perceives as objects.
Do You Have These Early Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
AMD affects vision by distorting what is right in front of you, wherever you happen to be looking. If what’s in the center of your vision starts to become blurry or difficult to see, it’s time to visit a trusted ophthalmologist.
Before you realize you’re having difficulty seeing, you may notice the following:
- Brighter light is needed when dealing with anything close-up
- The print you’re reading is blurry – and seems to be getting worse
- Everything seems darker than it used to
- Straight lines seem to bend
- Faces you know are more difficult to recognize
There is no pain associated with AMD. It tends to come on slowly and worsen over time. It may affect one or both eyes. If a single eye is affected, you may not notice any vision impairment, because the unaffected eye will compensate for the damaged one.
Color vision tests and the Amsler grid are common first-line tests used to determine how AMD affects vision – specifically, whether there are any problems with central vision.
No Cure, But You Can Slow Macular Degeneration
While there is no way to cure AMD and its effect on your vision, there are numerous ways to slow down its progression. Most of these approaches involve lifestyle choices, including:
- Taking certain supplements and vitamins
- Eating healthy, including plenty of fruits and veggies
- Avoiding smoking
- Exercising regularly
- Protecting your eyes from the sun
Because high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity are associated with an increased risk of macular degeneration, therapies your ophthalmologist recommends may include addressing and/or controlling these conditions.
There are many methods of helping you adjust to any permanent central vision loss due to macular degeneration. This includes the use of a variety of low-vision devices, some of which you may already be using (e.g., reading glasses and magnifiers).
More advanced devices include bioptic telescope glasses, which can help with driving. There are numerous products available that can read aloud anything you may not be able to see clearly any longer – including talking clocks, calculators, and more. Technology continues to advance in this area, and there are bound to be even better low-vision tools in the future. Ask your ophthalmologist which low-vision devices might be appropriate for you.
Macular Degeneration Diagnosis and Treatment in South Florida
Are you or a loved one having central vision problems? Age-related macular degeneration affects vision
by progressively worsening your ability to see fine details at the center of your line of sight.
Get timely medical attention from board-certified ophthalmologist Kenneth Karp, MD at Miramar Eye Institute in Miramar, Florida, by calling (954) 437-4316 or submitting an appointment request form now. Let us help preserve your vision.