Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Macular Degeneration Health Center

Font Size

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...

Read the Age-Related Macular Degeneration Overview article > >

  • 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
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

What Is Macular Degeneration
human eye
What Someone With Macular Degeneration Sees
picture of the eyes
Image Collection

eye exam
Treatments For Macular Degeneration
the aging eye
senior woman wearing glasses

WebMD Special Sections