Macular degeneration is a progressive disease that occurs in the eye and affects vision. It’s most common in people of an older age. Diagnosing macular degeneration is very important so you can treat it early on.
Research findings show that an early diagnosis and treatment will help delay some of the symptoms and most importantly ensure it doesn’t get severe. The common indicator of the disease includes the presence of deposits called drusen under the retina. Drusen are tiny yellow deposits that may grow bigger and obstruct the central field of your vision.
Below are some tests that the optometrist or ophthalmologist may take.
Dilated Eye Exam
In this procedure, your healthcare professional will use eye drops to dilate your pupils. The dilation will help them have a clear magnified view of your retina and macula thus determining if there are any abnormalities i.e., optic nerve damage.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
This method can also be used to determine the response of the retina to different types of treatment. For example, if you had a laser or injection treatment, the 3D image may help check if the swelling is getting better or worse. It is a technique that is noninvasive and that uses cross-sectional images to measure the various thickness or thinness of the layers in the retina.
The Fluorescein Angiography procedure includes an injection of a coloured dye in one of the veins on your arm. The dye travels to the eye and into the blood vessels of the retina. The eye specialist then uses a special camera to take pictures of the eye. This method is used to detect any abnormality of the macula— the small area found at the centre of the retina. The abnormality includes the presence of new blood vessels that are leaking fluid in the macula. The name of this type of macular degeneration is wet AMD.
Amsler grid test
This method can also be conducted at home. It helps identify the early signs of retinal abnormalities. The Amsler grid also helps in monitoring vision changes if there was a previous AMD diagnosis. It consists of a dot in the middle of the page that is surrounded by grid straight lines which intersect at a right angle.
The exam includes covering one of your eyes and staring at the dot. If you don’t see the lines or if they appear wavy then it may mean the presence of AMD.
Indocyanine green angiography
Just like fluorescein angiography, this method involves the injection of a green dye in the arm. They then follow the same procedure as in fluorescein angiography to determine the type of macular degeneration (wet or dry).
Getting an early diagnosis of AMD can be a big help. In cases where there is already a diagnosis traditional Chinese medicine may be helpful in treating it. For more information and to book an Initial Exam with one of our practitioners, call us on 07 846 7956.
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Al-Zamil, W. M., & Yassin, S. A. (2017). Recent developments in age-related macular degeneration: a review. Clinical interventions in aging, 12, 1313.
Fong, D. S. (2000). Age-related macular degeneration: update for primary care. American family physician, 61(10), 3035-3042.