Early recognition of signs of macular degeneration

Early recognition of signs of macular degeneration


The signs of macular degeneration are not obvious at an early stage and develop slowly so it’s easy to be overlooked if you don’t get regular eye exams. If you detect these small signs in time, you will have a chance to treat the disease more effectively and avoid serious complications.

Macular degeneration or macular degeneration is an eye disorder that affects vision. The disease is divided into two types, dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. In particular, dry macular degeneration accounts for 90% of cases.

• Dry macular degeneration: When infected, the parts of the macula gradually become thinner and the deposits of buildup on the surface of the retina called the drusen grow larger. The central vision will also be lost slowly.

• Wet macular degeneration: In this case, abnormal blood vessels develop underneath the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids and cause scarring in the macula. Vision loss is often more severe than dry macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration can lead to blindness, but if you recognize early signs of the disease, you will be able to treat it promptly to better protect your eyesight. The signs of macular degeneration are small but not difficult to spot if you check your eyes often.

The early stage signs

The early stage signs

Vision loss in the early stages of macular degeneration occurs so slowly that most patients do not realize it. Most cases of macular degeneration lose vision gradually. In fact, most people do not notice any symptoms until the disease progresses significantly.

At first, the images you still see clear and sharp may be blurred. As the disease progresses, these images may be deformed, enlarged, blurred, dark or speckled. Besides, the vision may be severely affected or you may see a gray area in the center of the vision while the peripheral vision remains unchanged.

You may also experience some symptoms:

  • Read the blurry.
  • Difficult to recognize faces.
  • See colors that are reduced in density or brightness.
  • Central vision impairment in one or both eyes.
  • Need more light when reading or doing things to look closely.
  • See everything deformed (straight lines seem to curve).
  • Difficult to adapt to low light levels. For example, you may find it difficult to accustom your eyes when entering a dimly-lit room.

Your doctor can detect macular degeneration before you have noticeable symptoms. At an early stage, the doctor may detect drusen deposits on the retina. Sometimes, a doctor can detect the disease if the macula changes color. Therefore, the habit of regular eye exams is essential to detect early signs of macular degeneration.

Signs when the disease is severe

As the symptoms progress, your eyesight may worsen and affect your ability to read, drive and recognize faces. Signs at this stage may include drusen accumulation or a blurry spot in the center of vision. This blurry point can continue to get bigger and darker. At this point, details like reading and writing will become more difficult. In some cases of severe macular degeneration, you may lose vision completely over time and permanently blind.

When should you see a doctor?

see macular degeneration examination

Macular degeneration can progress rapidly in some cases, so see your doctor right away if you notice any of the following:

  • You lose vision suddenly and quickly.
  • You suddenly see a blank or dark spot in the middle of your view.
  • You see the lines are bent or the objects are resized or deformed.
  • When examining the eye with the Amsler mesh, a type of grid that helps identify signs of macular degeneration, you see lines that change, become curved, or have blanks that you haven’t seen before.

In addition, you should also see a doctor if you notice changes in your vision or impaired ability to recognize colors and details. These changes can be early signs of macular degeneration, especially if you’re over 50.

Although you may not notice obvious signs of macular degeneration, you should also have your eyes checked regularly if you fall into the following categories:

• Having a relative with macular degeneration: You should get an annual eye exam if someone close to you has macular degeneration, especially if they have significant vision loss.

• Smoking: Smokers are at high risk for macular degeneration, so you need to have an annual eye exam if you have this habit. Besides, you should also find ways to give up smoking to protect the eyes and overall health.

• Having cardiovascular disease: Similar to tobacco, cardiovascular disease may also increase the risk of macular degeneration. If you are suffering from certain cardiovascular diseases, you should have an eye exam once a year to promptly treat it if there are signs.

Macular degeneration almost always affects both eyes but can be worse in one eye. If you want to test your vision at home, check each eye individually by covering one eye and examining the other. If you check regularly, you will easily notice the smallest changes.

The signs of macular degeneration in the early stages may not be obvious and are difficult to see, so you need to learn to recognize them to protect your vision well. If the disease progresses severely, treatment may be difficult and may not work as intended. So, you should have regular eye exams at the hospital, combined with home eye exams to detect abnormalities early.

Nhu Vu | HELLO BACSI

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Date Posted: January 18, 2020 | Last updated: January 18, 2020

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