Macular degeneration rarely leads to complete blindness, but often causes severe and irreversible loss of central vision. Side vision remains, but the center of vision, which is needed for daily tasks like reading and driving, is destroyed.
Common symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Seeing straight lines as crooked or wavy
- A dark, empty area appearing in the center of vision
- Drusen, which are yellow deposits under the retina.
Pain is not a symptom of macular degeneration.
(Click Macular Degeneration Symptoms for more information on symptoms of both types of the condition.)
Making a DiagnosisIn order to make a diagnosis, your doctor will ask you a number of questions about your medical history and will also perform a comprehensive eye exam.
Macular degeneration tests may include the following:
- Visual acuity test
- Dilated eye exam
- Amsler grid
- Fluorescein angiogram.
(Click Diagnosing Macular Degeneration for more information.)
There is no cure for macular degeneration. Treatment options depend on the type of macular degeneration.
For dry macular degeneration, early treatment may be possible with certain vitamins (see Vitamins for Macular Degeneration or PreserVision). There is no treatment for advanced dry macular degeneration.
For wet macular degeneration, treatment options can include:
While treatment for macular degeneration may save remaining vision, it will not improve sight that is already lost.
(Click Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration for more information.)
Your doctor can describe your treatment options and the expected results of each. You and your doctor can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your medical needs and personal values. Choosing the most appropriate treatment for macular degeneration is a decision that ideally involves the patient and health care team.
(Click Macular Degeneration Treatment for more information.)