Recognizing the Early Signs: Macular Degeneration Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

age-related-macular-degeneration

Macular degeneration is a common eye disease that affects millions of individuals worldwide, primarily those over the age of fifty. Despite its frequency, many people may miss the early signs and symptoms, resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment. Let’s take a look at the significance of early identification and the initial macular degeneration symptoms to protect your precious vision. 

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration, commonly known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a progressive eye disease that affects the macula, which is the core region of the retina that provides clear, central vision. It is the primary cause of eyesight loss in adults over the age of 50 in developed countries. There are two forms of macular degeneration: wet AMD and dry AMD. Dry AMD is more frequent and proceeds slowly, but wet AMD is characterised by the formation of aberrant blood vessels behind the macula, which can result in rapid vision loss if not treated.

Early detection of macular degeneration is critical for maintaining eyesight and avoiding permanent damage. Regular eye exams, particularly for people over the age of 50, can aid in the early detection of macular degeneration, and for effective macular degeneration treatment. Ignoring symptoms or delaying a consultation with an eye care specialist can lead to irreversible vision loss and have a substantial impact on quality of life.

Early Signs and Symptoms

Blurred Vision: Blurred vision, particularly in the central field of vision, is a common early macular degeneration symptom. Objects may appear hazy or blurry, making it difficult to see details properly.

Straight Lines Appearing Wavy: Another early indicator of macular degeneration is the distortion of straight lines, which may appear wavy or crooked. Metamorphopsia is a condition that can signal disease-related alterations in the macula.

Dark or Empty Areas in Central Vision: Individuals with macular degeneration may feel dark or empty patches in their centre vision, causing objects to fade or become obscured. This symptom can considerably hinder visual function, making tasks like reading and identifying faces difficult.

Difficulty Adapting to Low Light: Macular degeneration can also impair the eyes’ ability to adjust to changes in lighting conditions, especially in dim or low-light settings. Individuals may experience difficulty seeing in dimly lit rooms or at night.

Decreased Colour Intensity: Changes in colour perception, such as decreased colour intensity or trouble differentiating between colours, can be early signs of macular degeneration. Colours may look faded or less bright than normal.

Difficulty Recognizing Faces: Individuals with advanced macular degeneration may have difficulties recognizing faces, especially in well-lit areas where central vision is required for facial identification. The condition can have an impact on both social interactions and daily routines. 

How Is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?

A variety of tests can help diagnose macular degeneration. Following a full eye exam, you may undertake any of the following:

  • Acuity test: You read aloud letters that become smaller with each line.
  • Dilated eye exam: Drops are used to enlarge the pupil, allowing your eye doctor to check the back of your eye using a magnifying lens to discover early signs of macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
  • Optical coherence tomography: The eye specialist scans the retina and produces images of the macula to see whether fluid is collecting there or if there are any indicators of degeneration.
  • Fluorescein angiography: This is a procedure that involves injecting dye into your arm. As your blood circulation transports the dye through the eye’s blood vessels, a dedicated camera can capture images to help locate any leaking blood vessels.
  • Fundus autofluorescence imaging: A unique camera captures light emissions from pigments in the retina and detects tiny changes in the retina associated with macular degeneration.
  • Amsler grid: This is a low-tech test you may do at home. It entails utilising a chart shaped like a piece of graph paper, with a dot in the centre surrounded by a grid pattern. With one eye covered, you examine the grid for gaps and line distortions.

The early detection allows for timely intervention and macular degeneration treatment options, which will help to slow down disease development and protect vision. Macular degeneration treatment options include medicines, laser treatments, and, in certain circumstances, surgery. Furthermore, lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, eating a nutritious diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, and shielding the eyes from UV rays can help lower the risk of macular degeneration or stop its progression.

Empower Your Sight With Asia Pacific Eye Centre

If you are worried whether you are having macular degeneration, wait no more, get a comprehensive eye checkup done at Asia Pacific Eye Centre. We offer comprehensive macular degeneration treatments tailored to each patient’s unique needs. From diagnostic tools to innovative therapies, we employ age-related macular degeneration screening, striving to halt its progression and enhance visual acuity. Visit Asia Pacific Eye Centre today and book your consultation with our doctor.