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- Patient Comments: Macular Degeneration - Signs and Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Macular Degeneration - Age
- Patient Comments: Macular Degeneration - Risk Factors
- Patient Comments: Macular Degeneration - Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration
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- Macular degeneration facts
- What is macular degeneration?
- What is the retina?
- What is the macula?
- What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
- What is wet age-related macular degeneration?
- What are retinal drusen?
- What is dry age-related macular degeneration?
- What causes macular degeneration?
- What are risk factors for macular degeneration?
- What are macular degeneration symptoms?
- What are signs of macular degeneration?
- What type of specialist treats macular degeneration?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose macular degeneration?
- What is the treatment for wet macular degeneration?
- What is the treatment for dry macular degeneration?
- What are complications of macular degeneration?
- What is the prognosis for macular degeneration?
- Is it possible to prevent macular degeneration?
- What research is being done on macular degeneration?
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What are signs of macular degeneration?
In both dry and wet forms of macular degeneration, the ophthalmologist may find decreased visual clarity (acuity) with preservation of peripheral vision and changes in the central retina visible with the ophthalmoscope.
What type of specialist treats macular degeneration?
The diagnosis of macular degeneration can be made by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has specialized in the diagnosis and medical/surgical treatment of eye disease. In order to diagnose macular degeneration, the pupils are dilated with eyedrops so that the retina can be clearly seen. Once the diagnosis of macular degeneration is made, distinguishing between the dry or wet variety can be made by any ophthalmologist. If you are found to have wet macular degeneration, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist specializing in vitreo-retinal diseases. The majority of patients in the United States who are being treated with intravitreal injections for wet AMD are cared for by vitreo-retinal subspecialists.
How do health-care professionals diagnose macular degeneration?
Your ophthalmologist may suspect the diagnosis of AMD if you are over age 60 and have had recent changes in your central vision. To look for signs of the disease, he or she will use eyedrops to dilate, or enlarge, your pupils. Dilating the pupils allows your ophthalmologist to view the back of the eye better.
Early AMD is often diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam in patients without significant symptoms. This eye exam includes having drops placed in your eyes to enlarge, or dilate, the pupils. Your ophthalmologist will carefully examine the central portion of the retina to determine the presence or absence of AMD using various illuminating and magnifying devices.
During the eye exam, you may be asked to look at a checkerboard pattern called an Amsler grid. When looking at an Amsler grid with one eye, patients with AMD may notice that the straight lines of the checkerboard appear wavy or are missing.
Other diagnostic tests that your ophthalmologist may perform include retinal photography, fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography. All of these can help to differentiate between dry and wet forms of AMD and also document the abnormalities so that progression and response to treatment can be better measured.