Visiting Your Doctor for Macular Degeneration Screening: Here Are Five Questions You Must Ask

Visiting Your Doctor for Macular Degeneration Screening: Here Are Five Questions You Must Ask

Dec 01, 2021

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the foremost reason for vision loss among people over 50. Gradual vision impairment is noticed in people with dry AMD, while vision loss is rapid among people with wet AMD. If you are affected by AMD, you lose your central vision and encounter challenges seeing things directly in front of you. AMD doesn’t result in blindness. However, it can significantly affect everyday life.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Explained

If you encounter challenges seeing things before you and schedule an appointment with Premier Eye Care — Seton to understand the problem, the Seton eye doctor explains AMD is an eye infection affecting your central vision. As a result, you encounter challenges seeing things directly before you. If you are over 50, this familiar age-related eye problem can occur in you.

Macular degeneration affects the macula, the posterior part of the retina controlling the central vision. If you are affected by AMD, you are not considered entirely blind because your peripheral vision remains fine.

Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration a Common Problem?

American estimates report that over 10 million people have macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss. Macular degeneration overtakes cataracts and glaucoma in the number of people it affects.

Who Does Macular Degeneration Affect?

As the name indicates, macular degeneration is likely to occur as you get older. However, certain other risks are also involved. They are:

  • You may have a family history of AMD.
  • You could be overweight, a smoker, and also suffer from hypertension.
  • You may have a diet high in saturated fats.
  • You may be of European descent.

What Types of Macular Degeneration Can Affect You?

Macular degeneration can affect you in two varieties. There are:

Dry AMD (atrophic)

Over 90 percent of incidences among people with AMD are dry. AMD develops when small yellow deposits of drusen form under the macula. The residues result in drying and thinning the macula. With the dry variety, you may experience gradual vision loss, and most people do not entirely lose central vision. Dry macular degeneration can progress to the wet form in rare cases.

Wet AMD (exudative)

Wet AMD develops whenever blood vessels accumulate under the retina and the macula. Leakage of blood occurs from the blood vessels resulting in fluid buildup and bulging of the macula. As a result, dark spots may develop in the middle of your vision. Wet AMD affects approximately 15 percent of people with macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration is severe and results in total loss of central vision quickly.

Different Stages of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration occurs in three stages. Symptoms like vision loss aren’t evident until the final stage. The three steps are:

  • Early: the macula changes without affecting your vision.
  • Intermediate: you may experience blurry or wavy vision.
  • Advanced: central vision fails.

Symptoms of age-related AMD

Your eyes optic nerve receives messages from the macula to send to the brain. If your macula is damaged, your brain doesn’t understand or read the images that your eyes see. If you feel you have age-related AMD, you may not observe any symptoms until the disease progresses. However, you experience blurred vision, blank or dark spots in your vision field, and the appearance of waves and curves in straight lines.

Diagnosing Age-Related Macular Regeneration

Early changes of AMD rarely cause any symptoms. Therefore annual exams are crucial for the optometrist near you to detect AMD and start treatments when they are most effective. During your exam for macular degeneration screening in Calgary, your eye doctor checks change to the retina and macula. They may perform various tests, including a visual field test, dilated eye exam, optical coherence tomography, optical coherence tomography angiography, and fluorescein angiography.

When undergoing screening for macular degeneration, you also have the freedom to inquire about the condition affecting you to learn more about this problem. The questions you must consider asking for the following:

  1. Do you have wet or dry macular degeneration, and can it affect both your eyes?
  2. What stage of macular degeneration affects you?
  3. Will your AMD progress with time?
  4. Is your family prone to getting affected by AMD?
  5. Are you legally blind to register yourself with the commission for the Blind?

The Seton eye doctor will happily answer all your questions providing information that AMD isn’t curable. Still, if treatments start early, they can slow down the condition’s progress and reduce the symptoms. Unfortunately, AMD symptoms can return even with successful therapies depending on the condition affecting you.

When undergoing examinations for any condition include AMD asking questions is crucial to managing the condition affecting you. Therefore do not hesitate to inquire because it helps you understand your problem and manage it efficiently.