An eye specialist may test your eyes for macular degeneration using one or more of the following techniques:
During an eye examination, the pupil may be dilated using eye drops. This helps to give a better view of the retina at the back of the eye. After pupil dilation, the eyes may be blurry for a few hours. Driving should not be undertaken while the eyes are still dilated.
Retinal photographs are commonly used for eye examinations. They provide a detailed image of the retina and a basis for comparison for future eye examinations.
If the ophthalmologist suspects wet macular degeneration, a fluorescein angiogram will generally be used. Fluorescein dye is injected into the blood through a vein in the arm. The dye rapidly reaches the eye, and circulates through the retina to highlight any abnormalities or blood vessel damage. A camera with a special filter then takes a series of photographs. The procedure takes just a few minutes.
Optical coherence tomography
An optical coherence tomography – or OCT – scan is now a standard procedure in the diagnosis and ongoing management of wet macular degeneration. An OCT scan is a non-invasive imaging technique that uses light to produce very high-resolution cross-sectional images of the tissue layers within the retina at the back of the eye.
Monitoring your vision at home with an Amsler grid
In between tests by an eye health professional, you should regularly check for changes to your vision using an Amsler grid.
It is important to realise that checking for vision changes with an Amsler grid does not take the place of a professional eye test.