Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration is often detected in an eye exam, before the symptoms become noticeable. In early AMD, tiny drusen or waste deposits can be seen on the surface of the retina. The macula itself sometimes shows a change in its color (pigment). In many people, the disease does not progress beyond this condition.

If the disease has progressed further than this initial stage, symptoms can include blurred or fuzzy vision; the illusion that straight lines, such as the edge of a door or sentences on a page, are wavy; the illusion that some objects are smaller than they really are; and the appearance of a gray, dark or empty area in the center of the visual field. Sometimes color vision is noticeably paler than usual.

Remember that other conditions can cause some of these same symptoms.Meeting with a health-care professional can sort through the causes. If vision changes are occurring in your eye, do not ignore them. Certain forms of macular degeneration can progress very quickly and can respond to treatment if caught in time.

Stargardt disease may be detected in children and teenagers who are having trouble with their vision, although it can occur in early adulthood. Like adults with Age-related Macular Degeneration, children with Stargardt disease have trouble with central vision acuity.

See our online Amsler Grid for a quick self-test.