Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a very common eye disease. It is a major cause of blindness and visual impairment in older adults. Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.
There are two types of AMD:
1. Dry AMD.
By far the more common type, dry AMD occurs when the macula's light-sensitive cells break down, gradually causing blurry central vision. Dry AMD occurs in stages; early, intermediate and advanced.
2. Wet AMD.
Less common, wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels under the macula start to grow, leaking blood or fluid, causing swelling. This swelling affects the macula and causes rapid central vision loss. Wet AMD almost always begins as dry AMD.
- Straight lines appear distorted, or the center of vision becomes distorted
- Dark, blurry areas appear in the center of vision
- Faces or objects right in front of you may appear blurry
- Difficulty seeing letters or words on a page
- Difficulty seeing while doing fine motor actions such as tying shoes or sewing
- Difficulty driving at night, judging distances, or reading colored letters on colored paper
- More trouble seeing at a distance
- Needing more light to see contrast, such as reading words on colored paper
How To Test Yourself with the Amsler Grid:
The Amsler grid is a tool that eye doctors use to detect vision problems resulting from damage to the macula (the central part of the retina) or the optic nerve. The damage may be caused by macular degeneration, glaucoma or other eye diseases, so the Amsler grid is useful in detecting these problems.
If you need reading glasses, please wear them while you use the Amsler grid. The grid should be at about the same distance from your eyes that any other reading material would be.
Cover one eye, then focus on the dot in the center. Follow the steps beow and then repeat with your other eye.
1. Do any of the lines look wavy, blurred or distorted? (All lines should be straight, all intersections should form right angles and all the squares should be the same size.)
2. Are there any missing areas or dark areas in the grid?
3. Can you see all corners and sides of the grid?
It's very important to report any irregularity to your eye doctor immediately.
If you experience any changes in your vision between regularly scheduled visits, you should schedule an appointment at Crew & Boss Eye Associates as soon as possible. Detection of the early signs of AMD is essential to help preserve as much of your vision as possible.