Early detection of AMD is very important because treatments can delay or reduce the severity of the disease.
There are a number of tests available to check for AMD, many of which are part of the routine ophthalmological exam. Regular visits to an ophthalmologist are therefore important; detection during the early stages means that treatment will be more effective. Through a dilated pupil, your doctor will check for the presence of drusen deposits in the retina, one of the common early signs of dry AMD. Your doctor may also ask you to look at an Amsler grid, a picture of horizontal and vertical lines that resembles a checkerboard. If lines on the grid appear wavy, distorted, or missing, this may be a sign that AMD is disrupting your vision. The Amsler grid can also be used at home to periodically check for vision changes that may require the attention of a doctor.
If your doctor suspects you have or may be developing the wet form of AMD, you may undergo a procedure called fluorescein angiography. A fluorescent dye is injected into the bloodstream. Special photographs of the back of the eye are then taken to track the movement of the dye as it reaches and passes through the blood vessels feeding the retina. If vessels are leaking fluid or blood in the macula, the photographs will show them.
Last reviewed on 3/23/2010
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