It is possible to have the very early signs of age-related macular degeneration without even knowing. This is why it is vital to have regular comprehensive eye exams by an eye health professional, particularly if you are at risk of macular degeneration due to age, lifestyle factors or family history. An eye health professional can look at the back of the eye and identify early symptoms, such as the presence of drusen.
- Difficulty in reading or any other activity which requires fine vision
- Distortion where straight lines appear wavy or bent
- Difficulty distinguishing faces
- Dark patches may appear in the centre of your vision
- Additionally, the need for increased illumination, sensitivity to glare, decreased night vision and poor colour sensitivity may also indicate something is wrong.
Never ignore any changes to your vision or attribute changes to just a part of getting older. A rapid referral should be arranged from the optometrist or GP to an ophthalmologist if any sudden changes in vision or any symptoms of macular degeneration are noticed.
If you are already seeing an ophthalmologist a referral will not be required. Contact the ophthalmologist and explain the symptoms. Ask for an appointment within one week of any changes being noticed.
Regular follow-ups according to your ophthalmologist’s recommendations are imperative.
Early detection is critical to save sight
For both wet and dry macular degeneration the earlier a diagnosis is made, the earlier steps can be taken to slow disease progression. Conversely, delayed treatment increases the likelihood of losing sight.
Check My Macula
Are you at risk of macular disease? Check My Macula is a simple online quiz that helps you identify your main risk factors. Five easy questions and in under a minute you'll have your personalised quiz results. Try it at: www.CheckMyMacula.com.au.
Check My Macula is an initiative of Macular Disease Foundation Australia and is for use as an educational tool. It does not replace a comprehensive eye examination by a qualified eye health professional.