Macular Degeneration

What is Macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a breakdown of the macula, a small area in the retina at the back of the eye, that allows you to see fine details clearly and perform activities such as reading and driving. If the macula does not function correctly, your central vision can be affected by blurriness, dark areas, or distortion. It affects your ability to see near and far, and can make some activities - like threading a needle or reading - difficult or impossible.

Are there any symptoms?

The condition may be hardly noticeable in the early stages, but symptoms include:

  • Words on a page look blurred
  • A dark or empty area appears in the center of vision
  • Straight lines look distorted (see diagram)

How is Macular degeneration diagnosed?

Your ophthalmologist can detect early stages of macular degeneration, commonly known as AMD, during a medical eye examination that includes the following:

  • A simple vision test in which you look at a chart that resembles graph paper (Amsler grid)
  • Viewing the macula with an ophthalmoscope