Age-related macular degeneration also called AMD is the most common eye issue in the population over 50 years of age. AMD is a deterioration of the macula, which is the small central area of the retina (the layer at the back of the eye) that controls visual acuity. It is important to understand the symptoms of this disease as early diagnosis and treatment will help restore vision.
Although age-related macular degeneration is painless, the once easy tasks will seem a lot harder. The symptoms include the following:
1. Difficulty reading or focusing on intricate details. As we get older spending more time on our hobbies is often how we pass the days, reading, model making, bird watching, and sports all require clear eyesight to get the most out of these activities. AMD can make these tasks hard as you might find that you cannot see as clearly as before and cannot make out the small features that you used to be able too.
2. Having a shadowy central vision. This symptom is completely as it is stated, it is feeling that there are shadows or dark objects that are blocking your central vision, hence again making it hard to pick out details and focus.
3. Colour perception changes. Our memory of the things we love most in life whether it be your favourite flower, your favourite winter coat holds onto small details of these objects. If recently you have found that colours of your favourite things are starting to look dull or darker then what you remember it could be a sign you have AMD.
4. Straight lines may seem distorted or curved. If you find when driving that a road you remember as straight now seeming curved or bendy, or when you are writing you find yourself going over the straight lines this again is a symptom of age-related macular degeneration.
If you find that you have any of these symptoms you need to schedule an appointment for a complete evaluation with an ophthalmologist, who may recommend certain preventative measures which can reduce the risk of vision loss from AMD.
Although there is currently no cure for AMD, early detection is vital to save sight. The earlier you seek treatment, the more likely you are to have a better visual outcome compared to those who wait and put off having an eye exam. To book an appointment with one of the Auckland Eye ophthalmologists call 0800 25 53 93.