Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

You are likely to not notice any symptoms of vision loss if you are in the early stages of macular degeneration. It is essential to understand the condition to curb the problem early.


What Is Macular Degeneration?


Macular degeneration is an eye condition that commonly affects adults above 60. It happens due to the deterioration of the small area at the center of your retina called the macula. The condition causes a loss of central vision.


There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration occurs due to drusen, small yellow deposits that develop under the macula. The second type is wet macular degeneration. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under your macula and retina.


What Are the Causes and Risk Factors of Macular Degeneration?


The causes of macular degeneration are not clear. But according to research, it may result from environmental and hereditary factors. The condition is more common in older people. Below are some of the factors that increase your risk of getting macular degeneration:


  • Age - The condition is common in adults above 60 years old

  • Cardiovascular disease - You are at a higher risk of the disease if you have a condition that affects your blood vessels and heart

  • Smoking - Smoking or regular exposure to cigarette smoke increases your chances of macular degeneration

  • Family history - Macular degeneration has a hereditary component. According to research, some genes lead to the development of the condition

  • Obesity - According to research, being obese is a risk factor for macular degeneration




Your eye doctor can spot macular degeneration during routine eye exams. The most common early sign is when they see yellow deposits on your retina called drusen. Your doctor can only see the pigment clumping if you habitually go for eye exams.


You may also need to do an Amsler grid test to check how you view straight lines. You may see some lines appear wavy, or some may appear missing if you have macular degeneration. If your eye doctor finds macular degeneration, you may go through a procedure called OCT or another called angiography. 


When doing angiography, you will get a dye injected into a vein in your arm. Your doctor will then take photographs as the pigment flows in your retina through the blood vessels. The photos taken can show any leakage of fluid or blood. OCT helps see blood or fluid under your retina without using a dye.


Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration


Macular degeneration is an eye condition that worsens over time. You may not have vision problems in the early stages of the disease. You may also not notice changes in your vision when both of your eyes become affected simultaneously.

Below are signs and symptoms of dry macular degeneration:


  • Reduced central vision

  • Difficulty recognizing faces

  • Visual distortions such as seeing straight lines as bent

  • Retinal damage

  • Difficulty adapting to low-lit places

  • Need for brighter lighting


Wet macular degeneration is likely to cause sudden vision changes, resulting in severe vision loss. You may experience hazy vision and blurry spots in your central vision. Wet macular degeneration also has dark spots in the central vision because of the leaking blood and fluid.


When to See a Doctor


It is essential to see your doctor if you notice changes in your central vision. Also, see your doctor if your perception of color becomes impaired. Such changes may be the first signs of macular degeneration for adults above 60 years old.


For more about macular degeneration, contact Marshall EyeCare at our office in Aberdeen, New Jersey. You can also call (732) 837-0988 to book an appointment today. We open our office on the first Monday of every month to do AMD screenings for patients 65 and up.

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