Macular Degeneration Tests

Macular degeneration is a deterioration or breakdown of the eye’s macula. The macula is a small area in the retina responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly.

When macular degeneration sets in, deterioration of central vision begins. Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of decreased vision in the United States in patients over age 50. Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the natural aging process.

If you have macular degeneration, you may have symptoms such as blurriness, dark areas or distortion in your central vision and perhaps permanent loss of your central vision. It usually does not affect the side (peripheral) vision.

As with other eye conditions, early detection of macular degeneration is key to slowing the progression of the disease and preserving vision. During a thorough retinal exam in Phoenix, we use advanced tools to screen for macular degeneration.

One tool that we may use is called Optical Coherence Tomography (OTC) to examine whether your eyes show symptoms of macular degeneration.

Another macular degeneration test is a fluorescein angiogram (FA). The fluorescein angiogram involves the injection of a dye (not iodine based) called fluorescein.  As the fluorescein dye travels through your retina, pictures are taken which may help your doctor diagnose macular degeneration. In most instances, a retinal specialist performs an FA. It is a diagnostic test used mainly for the diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases.

One key tool that you can use to help identify macular degeneration symptoms – or self-monitor the progression of your disease if you have already been diagnosed – is the Amsler grid test. Some of the early signs of macular degeneration include wavy lines, blank spots or other distortions in vision, and the Amsler grid can help to detect these. The Amsler grid looks similar to graph paper, with a black dot in the center and a series of vertical and horizontal lines forming squares.

If you are experiencing signs of macular degeneration or would just like to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, contact Associated Retina Consultants today at 602-242-4928 or associatedretinaconsultants.com.

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