The Stages Of Macular Degeneration & Their Warning Signs

Age-Related Macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive condition that affects the central part of the retina, known as the macula. It’s one of the leading causes of vision loss in older adults.

Most people won’t notice any problems in the early stages of AMD. Catching AMD early by getting regular check-ups with your Optometrist is the best way to detect early AMD. As the condition progresses some people may notice the following subtle vision changes:

  • Central vision blurriness, as if you are seeing through an old air of glasses that aren’t correctly focussing
  • Changes in colour perception such as losing the ability to see shades of purple, yellow and pastel tones
  • Difficulty seeing in dim light, such as requiring a brighter light to read or increased difficulty with night driving

Changes in vision are more pronounced as macular degeneration worsens, due to the macula damage that has occurred. Common symptoms of this stage include:

  • Blurred vision and difficulty recognising faces, text or objects
  • Straight lines appearing wavy or bent, such as looking at kitchen tiles or lines on a road
  • Missing patches in your vision, usually the very central part of your vision
An Age-related Macular Degeneration

Dry Form And Wet Form Of Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration can also be divided into 2 forms; dry and wet.

  • Dry macular degeneration occurs when metabolic waste accumulates beneath the macula, eventually leading to vision deterioration. Treatment for this form includes lifestyle changes such as natural supplements and antioxidants. People with early or mild AMD could also be said to have dry AMD. There is no bleeding or swelling of the retina at this stage. Dry AMD can turn into wet AMD.
  • Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the macula, causing swelling and bleeding of the macula. This triggers a rapid loss of vision, unlike dry macular degeneration which progresses very slowly. Wet AMD requires more intensive treatment such as anti-VEGF injections or laser therapy. Wet AMD is the main cause of advanced vision loss in AMD patients.

Both forms of AMD are serious and should be monitored and managed by medical professionals to ensure complications are avoided or minimised.

If you are concerned you may have signs of AMD or you simply want a professional to keep their eyes on yours, Pacific Eye Clinic is well equipped to handle all aspects of your care. From eye examinations to treatment and preventative care, we are committed to keeping your vision in the best shape possible. Contact us via our contact form today, or give us a call on 07 5647 3484 to book an appointment.

Author

Dr Marc Wei

Dr Marc Wei

Dr. Marc Wei is the principal specialist laser and cataract surgeon at Pacific Eye Clinic in Southport on the Gold Coast. He has 20 years of trusted experience in advanced laser cataract surgery and has completed more than 15,000 procedures over the course of his career.

Dr Marc Wei

Dr Marc Wei

Dr. Marc Wei is the principal specialist laser and cataract surgeon at Pacific Eye Clinic in Southport on the Gold Coast. He has 20 years of trusted experience in advanced laser cataract surgery and has completed more than 15,000 procedures over the course of his career.