How Age-Related Macular Edema Affects Vision
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) describes the damage that occurs in the macula, the part of the eye in which central vision is formed. This common condition is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. Although total blindness is not typically caused by AMD, people with this condition may suffer a diminished quality of life. For this reason, it is important to know how age-related macular edema may appear and what to do if it does.
What Is the Macula?
The macula is a part of the retina that is positioned at the center of the back of the eye. It is the part of the retina where, when light lands, transports electrical messages to the brain to form central vision, that which is straight ahead of the eyes. When the macula is damaged, light processing in this area is interrupted, causing the decrease or loss of central vision.
Symptoms of AMD
Damage to the macula does not cause vision loss right away. Milder symptoms often occur first. These include:
- Sensitivity to glare
- Fuzzy, blurry, or shadowing in the central vision
- Difficulty seeing or reading in low-light
- Distortion or blurring of straight lines
As the disease worsens, symptoms become more noticeable. When the disease reaches an advanced stage, everyday tasks can become a challenge due to the marked decrease in the central area of vision. Sufferers have a difficult time reading road signs, seeing objects up close, watching television, driving, and performing work or chores. Being able to see clearly only in peripheral vision, sufferers can become limited in how they engage in life.
A board-certified ophthalmologist can diagnose AMD during a comprehensive eye exam and discussion of visual symptoms. The early diagnosis of age-related macular edema is imperative to the most successful management of the condition. Doctors use medications or laser therapy to slow the progression of this disease but cannot correct the damage that has occurred.
If you exhibit symptoms of macular degeneration, a thorough eye exam is needed to discover the cause of visual impairment. Our specialists have years of experience treating age-related macular degeneration and can administer care to help preserve your vision for the foreseeable future.
Retina Consultants of Minnesota, PA proudly serves patients in several Minnesota cities. To locate an office near you, call (800) 877-2500.