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Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Medically Reviewed by Whitney Seltman, OD on September 21, 2022

If you're in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration, you may not have symptoms. The first sign you may notice is a gradual or sudden change in the quality of your vision or that straight lines appear distorted to you. This may gradually turn into a dramatic loss of your central vision.

Other symptoms include:

  • Dark, blurry areas or whiteouts that appear in the center of your vision.
  • In rare cases, you may have a change in your perception of color.

When to Seek Medical Care for Macular Degeneration

For age-related macular degeneration, you should see an eye doctor. They will look at your retina to determine if any treatment is necessary, and they may refer you to a retinal specialist.

In general, if you're older than 45, you should get a complete eye exam and then follow-up exams every 2 to 4 years.

If you have age-related macular degeneration, check your vision every day and let your doctor know if you notice any changes. Your doctor may recommend using a graph called an Amsler Grid to monitor your vision at home. They may also recommend a special combination of vitamins and minerals as a supplement, called AREDS, to slow disease progression. 

Keep in mind that vision problems could also be signs of another condition besides macular degeneration. Work with your doctor to get the right treatment for you.