By Lylas G. Mogk, M.D. Edited by Maureen A. Duffy, M.S., CVRT Your eye care specialist is likely to see signs of macular degeneration before you are aware of any loss of vision. When you do start experiencing vision loss from age-related macular degeneration, symptoms can include:
  • Blurred or “fuzzy” vision
  • Straight lines, such as sentences on a page, appearing wavy or distorted
  • Blurry areas on a printed page
  • Difficulty reading or seeing details in low light levels
  • Extra sensitivity to glare

Diagnosing Age-Related Macular Degeneration

To diagnose age-related macular degeneration effectively, most macular specialists recommend the following procedures:
  • Distance and near vision acuity tests
  • A dilated eye (or fundus) examination, which includes the use of an ophthalmoscope. The pupil of the eye is dilated to allow the examiner to see through it and observe the macula at the inside back wall of the eye.
  • Optical coherence tomography testing (OCT) may be used to gain a clearer picture of the macula and its supporting layers. OCT is a type of medical imaging technology that produces high-resolution cross-sectional and three-dimensional images of the eye.
  • For more information about the components of a comprehensive eye examination, see The Difference between a Vision Screening and a Comprehensive Eye Examination.

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Scheduling a Comprehensive Eye Examination

If you have at least two of the top five symptoms covered above, you should have a thorough eye examination by an eye care specialist. Individuals who are over 40 should have a dilated eye examination every two or three years. A condition called Late-Onset Retinal Degeneration (L-ORD) is often mistaken for macular degeneration, but in its severest state, affects both central and peripheral vision.