Macular degeneration, which is also known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD, is a common medical condition that can cause the sufferer to experience a gradual loss of their central vision. It usually begins later in life and is caused by the natural deterioration of the cells in part of the eye called the macula which is responsible for helping us to see color and for the sharpness and detail of our vision. It’s not known why some people are affected and others aren’t but genetics and poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and being overweight have been linked to the condition.
Whilst macular degeneration doesn’t cause total blindness, it can significantly impair a person’s day to day life and without treatment, their vision could deteriorate even further. AMD can appear in one eye or both, but only your central vision will be affected with the peripheral vision (side vision) left intact.
One of the biggest challenges of macular degeneration is that there are no visible signs when your eye doctor examines the appearance of your eyes. This means that early identification of the condition is fully reliant on patients visiting their eye doctor when they realize that they are experiencing symptoms that suggest that something isn’t quite right with their eyes. The very first symptom of the condition is usually a blurred or distorted area in your vision. However, macular degeneration tends to develop gradually and so this may appear very slowly and subtly.
The following are some of the most common signs of macular degeneration. However, it is important to be aware that they can also be indicative of other eye conditions and it is important that you schedule an appointment with your eye doctor so that you can obtain an accurate diagnosis and the necessary treatment.
- Difficulty reading or watching television
- Struggling to tell different colors apart
- Colors seem less bright than they used to
- Straight lines appear wavy or bent
- Objects look smaller than usual
- It becomes difficult for your eyes to adjust to changing light levels, such as going from a dark room into a light one
- Driving becomes tricky and you feel you have to try extra hard to focus and see clearly, as such your eyes may quickly become fatigued
- Impaired depth perception
- It becomes difficult to recognize faces
Contrary to what many people expect, macular degeneration doesn’t cause any pain.
In some cases, macular degeneration may be detected during a routine eye exam before you experience any symptoms of the condition. This is just one of the reasons why regular examinations are recommended by all eye doctors.
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing some of the symptoms above, don’t hesitate in seeking an appointment with our expert eye care team by calling our offices today.