Diagnosing and Care for Macular Degeneration

January 31, 2021

If you’ve noticed that your central vision is changing, it could be that you have developed macular generation. Have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist or optometrist to be sure and to start treatment. Early intervention delays some symptoms or reduces their severity.

 

Macular Degeneration Diagnosis

 

The diagnosis for macular degeneration examines your retina and tests your vision. The eye doctor performs a comprehensive exam of several tests, including the following:

 

Autofluorescence

 

For this test, the eye doctor uses autofluorescence photos to study your retina and determine the geographic atrophy progression. This test is used mainly on patients suspected to have advanced dry macular degeneration.

 

Dilated Eye Exam

 

The dilated eye exam involves putting some eye drops inside your eyes to widen your pupils. The dilation allows the eye doctor to look through to the retina at the back of the eye for macular degeneration signs. He also checks to see whether your optic nerve has suffered any damage.

 

Visual Acuity Test

 

Also called the eye chart test, this one examines your sight from different distances.

 

Ophthalmoscopy

 

Once your pupils are dilated, the doctor shines a bright light inside the eye to check for possible issues. He checks the blood vessels, retina, choroid, and optic disk.

 

Fundus Photography

 

This test also involves shining a light through your dilated pupils, cornea, and lens. Using a camera, the doctor takes shots of the back of your eye, looking for signs of disease. He or she takes pictures of your optic nerve, retina, and macula. The photos are stored safely, and the doctor refers to them in follow-up visits to check for any changes.

 

Tonometry

 

Tonometry is a test designed to determine the pressure inside your eye.

 

Optical Coherence Tomography

 

Optical coherence tomography is used to take images of the retina. This test produces cross-sectional images of the retina, from which the doctor can observe the thickness of various layers. If the doctor suspects that you have a severe AMD case, he uses this test to identify the retina points that thinned out. If there are any, this is a sign of geographic atrophy. The optical coherence tomography test is also used to determine your eye’s response to various forms of treatment.

 

Fluorescein Angiography

 

If the doctor thinks that you have wet AMD, he uses the fluorescein angiography test to establish whether you have leaking blood vessels. He injects a fluorescent dye into the vein on your arm and waits for it to enter the blood vessels in your eyes. Using a special camera, the doctor traces the movement of the dye throughout the retina. He can see any leaking, locked, or abnormal blood vessels.

 

Care After a Macular Degeneration Diagnosis

 

After a positive diagnosis for macular degeneration, the doctor proceeds to offer treatment.

 

One of the options is to inject anti-VEGF drugs into your eye. The medication improves vision and keeps the condition from deteriorating. You get an injection every 1 or 2 months, for as long as needed.

 

For the treatment, the doctor numbs the eye with eye drops, then inserts the needle. You may experience some slight discomfort. The side effects are that your eyes may bleed, turn red, and become irritated.

 

The second treatment option is photodynamic therapy. It involves shining a laser light to the back of your eye to destroy abnormal blood vessels causing AMD. Photodynamic therapy can be used together with eye injections if the outcome of the injections alone is not significant. This treatment, too, requires a touch-up every few months. The side effects of photodynamic therapy are temporary blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light in the early days after treatment.

 

Diagnosing macular degeneration allows you to start treatment early. Treatment reduces or stops the progression of the condition, so you can continue enjoying your vision.

 

Learn more about diagnosing & care for macular degeneration, contact Eye Associates of New York in Midtown East, NY at  (212) 650-4888.

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