Age-Related Macular Degeneration (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
A doctor can usually detect age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with a regular eye exam. The doctor first will find out more about your symptoms, past eye problems, and other health conditions by asking you about your medical history.
Visual acuity test
The doctor will test your central vision with a visual acuity test. During this test, you cover one eye and read letters on a wall chart 20 ft (6.1 m) away. Central vision gets worse over time in a person with AMD, and a visual acuity test can measure whether your vision has gotten worse since your last exam. The doctor may also test your visual field, which includes both your central vision and side (peripheral) vision.
Your doctor will look inside your eye using ophthalmoscopy. If you have AMD, your doctor may see drusen, which appear as yellowish white spots under the retina. Although some small drusen can usually be found in the macula as a normal result of aging, the presence of numerous large drusen is associated with AMD.1
Amsler grid test
For more information on vision testing, see the topic Vision Tests.
If your doctor thinks that you may have wet AMD, you may also have a test called an eye angiogram or an optical coherence tomography (OCT) to find out if abnormal blood vessels are growing beneath the macula. The test can also locate leaky blood vessels under the macula and help your doctor find out if they can be treated.
If you have AMD and some loss of vision, your doctor may do a low-vision evaluation to help find ways for you to make the most of your remaining vision and keep your quality of life.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that all people between 40 and 54 years of age have a comprehensive eye exam every 2 to 4 years to help detect AMD early. The following table summarizes the recommendations for comprehensive eye exams:3
Regular use of an Amsler grid can detect the progression of dry AMD to wet AMD. People who have dry AMD and those who have an increased risk for developing AMD should use the Amsler grid. Your doctor can give you one to use at home.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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