Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration

A diagnosis of macular degeneration will require a physical examination of the eyes along with certain tests. Tests for macular degeneration include:

  • Amsler Grid Test: This test tests for defects in the center of the vision. People with macular degeneration will notice some distortion or break in the lines of the grid.
  • Examining the Back of the Eye: Eye drops are first used to dilate the pupils. Then using a special magnifying glass, the ophthalmologist will examine the back of the eye to look for any signs of drusen (yellow deposits that form in cases of macular degeneration).
  • Angiogram: This test is used to capture an image of the eye after highlighting the blood vessels. The doctor will first inject a dye into a vein in the arm. The dye travels to the blood vessels of the eye and a special camera is used to take an image of the eye with the blood vessels highlighted by the dye. The images help the doctor to determine whether or not there are any blood vessel or retinal abnormalities that are an indication of macular degeneration.
  • Optical Coherence Tomography: This is an imaging test that helps identify areas where the retina is either thickening or thinning. This test is also used to gauge the patient's response to treatment for macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration starts of as dry macular degeneration and on occasion progresses to wet macular degeneration. It is classified as:

  • Early Stage: This is characterized by the presence of several small or a few medium sized drusen with no vision loss in the earliest stage.
  • Intermediate Stage: This is characterized by the presence of many medium sized or one or more large sized drusen in one or both the eyes. At this stage the central vision begins to get affected resulting in blurring and the need for bright light to read or do detail work.
  • Advanced Stage: This is characterized by the presence of several large drusen accompanied by the breakdown of light sensitive cells in the macula of one or both eyes. It results in a clearly defined area of blurring in the central vision which may progressively become larger and more opaque with time.

Frequently asked questions
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