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Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

The eye is one of the most delicate and vital organs in our body. It is an essential component for both vision and balance. If there is any malfunction, your quality of life can be greatly compromised. Macular Degeneration, also called Age-Related Macular Degeneration or AMD, is a leading cause of vision loss for adults 50 years and older. Read the following blog to learn the 4 most common symptoms of Macular Degeneration.

 

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Blink Eyewear’s Guide to Macular Degeneration Symptoms

Macular Degeneration is a progressive eye disease that causes the centre of your vision to blur and vision details to worsen over time. If not detected and treated early, permanent scarring could occur and vision could be lost.

If you are experiencing any of these common symptoms of AMD, consult with your optometrist for diagnosis and a treatment plan to help you see clearly again.
 

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Top 4 Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

Abnormal Visual Distortions

A visual distortion describes any perception you experience that is unordinary or unexpected in your surroundings. Common examples of abnormal distortions are:

  • seeing straight lines as curved
  • decreased brightness or vibrancy in colours
  • still objects appearing to move

These abnormal sights may occur infrequently at first, but it is important to be aware of and pay attention to increased frequency or severity. 

Blurriness of Words and Numbers

One of the most common symptoms of Macular Degeneration is blurred vision. You might notice reading printed words, street signs, directions, and even words on screens.

Blurry vision while reading is a symptom that is common to many vision problems so it can be hard to know if this symptom is indicative of Macular Degeneration. The only way to be sure is to see your optometrist as soon as you notice words and numbers have become blurry and difficult to read.  

Difficulty Adapting to Low Light

You may notice that it is becoming more difficult to see in dim lighting. Your eyesight might feel “muddy” or that you have a haze or glare in your vision. It may be relieved by turning on more lights, or increasing the brightness of the screen, but these are temporary solutions. Although it is common for people to need more light to see as they age, ask yourself the question: 

How easily can I adjust my vision when in dim lighting like at a dining restaurant? 

This is a simple yet informative indication of whether your need for brighter lighting should prompt screening for AMD. Requiring more light to read is common to aging, whereas struggling to adjust to darkened surroundings may suggest Macular Degeneration. 

Noticeable Blurry or Blind Spot

Have you noticed a blurry area in the center of your vision? When you stare at something, are there any blind spots in your field focus? If so, you may be experiencing a symptom of Macular Degeneration. 

Since macular degeneration can affect either one eye or both, you may not notice the central blind spot right away. If you suspect one eye is worsening more than the other, try closing one eye at a time and compare the clarity in the objects or words that you focus on. In the early stages, patients have described the blind spot as small black or grey dots right where their vision is focused. It could be described as seeing “stars” in the center area of your vision. 

If you notice any of these visual signals in either eye a qualified optometrist can screen you for Age-Related Macular Degeneration and provide options for symptom relief and treatment.

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How to Know if You Have Macular Degeneration? Look Out for The Warning Signs.

Are the words you read blurry? Are you noticing a grey spot expanding in the centre of your field of vision? Do you find it difficult adjusting to your surroundings in a dimly lit place? If you answer yes to one or more of these questions you should consider a comprehensive eye exam to diagnose or rule out Macular Degeneration. Macular degeneration can affect one eye or both and is the most common cause of vision loss in patients over the age of 50. To discuss symptoms of concern or assess the overall health of your eyes, book an appointment with Blink Eyewear or call our patient phone line at 403-516-2292

FAQs

1. Is pain in the eyes a symptom of Macular Degeneration? 
While it is an uncommon symptom, it is still possible to feel pain behind the eyes as a result of Macular Degeneration. This symptom is common for other ocular problems too but should always be taken seriously, regardless if you suspect AMD or not. As soon as you feel noticeable pain in your eyes, contact your eye doctor for further evaluation or emergency treatment if necessary.

2. What complications can arise from macular degeneration?  
If left untreated, blind spots can worsen and serious vision loss can occur. Secondary effects of vision loss include a higher risk of depression and social isolation. 

3. How common is Macular Degeneration? 
In Canada, macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. According to The Cost of Vision Loss in Canada report by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, one million patients across the country have age-related macular degeneration. 


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