Macular degeneration symptoms are not clear until the condition worsens or affects both eyes. You should learn to identify indications of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to prevent vision loss.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms: Red Flags You Must Not Ignore
In this article:
- Macular Degeneration: What You Need to Know
- Distortion of Straight Lines
- Distortion or Blurring of Central Vision
- Impairment of Depth Perception
- Reverse Tolerance to Changes in Light Levels
- Impairment of Color Perception
1. Macular Degeneration: What You Need to Know
Macular degeneration is an eye disease which affects 6.2 million people worldwide. Unlike glaucoma which targets peripheral vision, macular degeneration affects a person’s central vision. The macula, an area in the eye responsible for central vision, becomes damaged, leading to a loss of vision. Usually, the damage happens slowly over time. And, early stages of AMD do not often have apparent symptoms. So, it is important to have regular check-ups with your ophthalmologist, even if there are no obvious symptoms of macular degeneration.
2. Distortion of Straight Lines
One of the symptoms of macular degeneration is seeing straight lines as wavy. When this happens, visit your eye doctor immediately to see if you have a problem with your retina. Or, more specifically, the macula of your retina. Even if it is not macular degeneration, these vision problems can be signs of another eye disease.
Having an Amsler Grid at home can also help you check your vision. It is a device that helps detect any visual disturbance as a result of changes in the retina. You can obtain this grid from an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
3. Distortion or Blurring of Central Vision
There is dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. Both types of AMD affect the central vision, but dry macular degeneration occurs when the macula grows weak. This leads to blurred vision. This may cause discomfort, especially when trying to do daily tasks. Meanwhile, wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels damage the macula. This type of AMD is much more severe than its dry counterpart. It also causes much quicker and more serious vision loss. Wet macular degeneration also causes straight lines to appear wavy as discussed in the preceding section.
4. Impairment of Depth Perception
Blind spots could develop as dry macular degeneration progresses. This decrease in visual acuity makes it harder to distinguish color and fine detail. This could also make it harder for people with AMD to perceive distances, causing them to trip or fall. For instance, walking up the stairs is not as easy as it used to be when you had perfect vision.
5. Reverse Tolerance to Changes in Light Levels
People with AMD find it hard to adapt to extreme changes in light levels. This condition makes it risky for them to drive at night because of the bright headlights and glare coming from passing cars. Also, people with AMD will find themselves needing more light to perform daily tasks such as reading and writing.
6. Impairment of Color Perception
The macula is the part of the retina that enables us to see clearly, as well as appreciate colors. Thus, macular degeneration would naturally impair your color perception. People with AMD will still be able to see colors, but color perception can become more impaired as the condition progresses.
Still confused about macular degeneration symptoms and risk factors? Watch this video from Macular Disease Foundation Australia below:
Macular degeneration symptoms are no joke. Even if there are FDA-approved treatments for macular degeneration, prevention is still better than a cure. Eating healthy and avoiding alcohol and tobacco will help you. Also, natural treatments and proper eye care treatments will benefit your eye health. Regular visits to your ophthalmologist will help address any symptoms of macular degeneration.
Learn more from Dr. Kondrot’s podcast on Dealing With and Treating Macular Degeneration with Alternative Treatments here!
Can you name other macular degeneration symptoms not mentioned above? Let us know in the comments section below.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.