Aging & Health A to Z
Diagnosis & Tests
Regular Eye Exams
Because you may not realize that you have ARMD until you develop noticeable changes in your vision, you should have regular eye exams. If you’re covered by Medicare, you’re entitled to a free Annual Wellness Visit, during which your healthcare professional will, among other things, check your vision. Your healthcare professional may recommend that you see an eye specialist for further examination.
Seeing a Specialist
A specialist (ophthalmologist or optometrist) will use a device called an ophthalmoscope to examine your retina and macula. They may ask you to use the Amsler grid and report whether the lines on the grid or are bent or “wavy” or otherwise distorted.
If the specialist suspects you have wet ARMD, she will use special equipment to scan your eye for abnormal blood vessels. She will first inject a special dye into a vein in your arm. When the dye reaches the blood vessels in the retina it will highlight any vessels that are abnormal. The specialist can study the images of these blood vessels to determine if you have ARMD and work with you to develop a treatment plan.
While researchers are investigating a number of promising new treatments for wet ARMD, about three-quarters of cases of wet ARMC cannot be treated at this point. This, however, does not mean that people with wet macular degeneration who won’t respond to available therapies will become blind. They will not become blind, because they will still have their peripheral or “side” vision even if they lose their central vision. Fortunately, there are techniques people with untreatable wet ARMD can use to make the most of this vision and remain independent.
Updated: March 2012
Posted: March 2012