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Age-Related Macular Degeneration - When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if:

  • You have a sudden, rapid loss of vision.
  • You suddenly notice a new blank or dark spot in the center of your vision that does not go away.
  • Straight lines appear wavy or curved, or objects begin to change size or shape or appear distorted.
  • You see either of the following on an Amsler grid camera.gif:
    • Lines that change or appear wavy and curved
    • A blank spot that you have not noticed before in the grid

Your doctor will refer you to an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) if needed.

Call your doctor to discuss whether you need an eye exam if:

  • You need more light to read than you used to.
  • Colors seem faded or less vivid than they used to.
  • Your vision seems to be getting more blurry.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting means to take a wait-and-see approach.

Watchful waiting is not appropriate if you have rapid vision loss or sudden changes in your vision. If you have any rapid vision changes, go to your doctor as soon as possible. Immediate treatment may be able to slow vision loss caused by wet AMD. Delaying treatment for wet AMD could mean further loss of central vision.

If you have dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD), watchful waiting is appropriate. You may never develop vision loss to the point that it disrupts your regular lifestyle.

Who to see

AMD can usually be detected during a routine eye exam by your regular doctor or an eye care professional (optometrist or ophthalmologist).

An ophthalmologist who specializes in problems with the retina and macula can diagnose which type of AMD you have. Also, laser surgery and medicine injections for wet AMD are done by an ophthalmologist.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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