Macular Degeneration Screening in Calgary

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one very common eye disease among people age 60 and older that causes deterioration of the macula, the central area of the retina. The retina, which is located at the back of the eye, is a thin tissue where light-sensitive cells send visual signals to the brain. If the macula is damaged, it could result in blind spots and blurred or distorted vision. In fact, AMD is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss. There are two types of AMD, wet and dry, both of which can make daily activities such as driving and reading increasingly difficult. The professionals at Premier Eye Care in Calgary, AB screen for this degenerative condition to help preserve your vision for as long as possible.

Signs and symptoms

  • Visual field defect
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Poor tolerance for changing light levels
  • Need for higher light levels
  • Impaired depth perception

Additionally, the dry type of AMD commonly causes slightly blurred central vision (both far and close up), a fuzzy or shadowed center of vision, blind spots, and difficulty seeing color and fine detail. In wet macular degeneration, one symptom is that straight lines may appear wavy. In a more severe form, central vision loss can occur rapidly. Often, the early stages of AMD produce no clear symptoms and can only be detected by an eye doctor. That is why regular are exams are so important – to give your doctor an opportunity to catch problems before they even begin showing symptoms.

Screening

A variety of tests can be performed during a comprehensive eye exam in order to help diagnose macular degeneration. These include:

  • Autofluorescence: These photos are used by eye care professionals to study the retina and measure the progression of geographic atrophy
  • Dilated eye exam: allows your doctor to see the back of your retina to check for signs of disease and to determine if there is optic nerve damage
  • Fundoscopy or ophthalmoscopy: performed after the pupil has been dilated, this test involves having a bright beam of light shone into the eye to check for problems in the retina, choroid, blood vessels, and optic disk
  • Fundus photography: a customized camera is used to photograph the back of the eye after the pupil has been dilated. A test called fluorescein angiography that detects leaking blood vessels may be conducted if your doctor suspects that you may have the wet type of AMD.
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT): produces cross-sectional images of the retina so that the different layers and their thicknesses can be measured
  • Tonometry: measures the pressure inside the eye

AMD can also be detected through home monitoring. Common methods include the Amsler grid and the ForeseeHome Monitoring Device.

If you have noticed changes in your vision, schedule an appointment with Premier Eye Care in Calgary, AB today.