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Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

What Are the Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

In its early stages, age-related macular degeneration may not have symptoms and may be unrecognized until it progresses or affects both eyes. The first sign of macular degeneration is usually distortion of straight lines. This may progress to a gradual loss of central vision.

Symptoms of macular degeneration include:

Recommended Related to Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Overview

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 60. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. Because the disease develops as a person ages, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although macular degeneration is almost never a totally blinding condition, it can be a source of significant visual disability. There...

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  • Straight lines start to appear distorted, or the center of vision becomes distorted
  • Dark, blurry areas or white out appears in the center of vision
  • Very rarely diminished or changed color perception

If you experience any of these symptoms, see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

When to Seek Medical Care for Macular Degeneration

For age-related macular degeneration, you should see an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery).

  • In general, people older than 45 years should have a complete eye exam and then follow-up exams every two to four years.
  • People with age-related macular degeneration should check their vision daily and promptly notify their ophthalmologist of any changes in their vision.

Because of the specialized nature of eye exam equipment, macular degeneration problems are usually handled best in the ophthalmologist's office.

Visual symptoms or eye pain may not be symptoms of age-related macular degeneration. You may need prompt diagnosis and treatment of a different eye condition.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on April 26, 2015
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