Diagnosis and Treatment of Acute Macular Degeneration (AMD)

How is AMD diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and eye examination, your eye care professional may perform the following tests to diagnose AMD:

  • Visual acuity test - the common eye chart test (see right), which measures vision ability at various distances.
  • Pupil dilation - the pupil is widened with eye drops to allow a close-up examination of the eye's retina.
  • Amsler grid - used to detect wet AMD, this diagnostic test uses a checkerboard-like grid (reduced size shown here; normal vision on the left and vision with AMD on the right) to determine if the straight lines in the pattern appear wavy or missing to the patient - both indications may signal the possibility of AMD.
  • IC Green - used to detect wet AMD, this diagnostic test involves a special dye injected into a vein in the arm. Pictures are then taken as the dye passes through the blood vessels in the retina, helping the physician evaluate if the blood vessels are leaking and whether or not the leaking can be treated.
  • OCT (optical coherence tomography) is a diagnostic test used to look at the pressence and activity of wet AMD.

Treatment for AMD:

Specific treatment for AMD will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment for wet AMD may include one type of laser surgery in which a high energy beam of light is aimed directly onto the leaking blood vessels to deter further leaking.

Currently, there is no treatment for dry AMD. This does not, however, indicate that sight will automatically be lost, particularly if the AMD affects only one eye. Central vision may eventually be lost or diminished, but generally the rate of loss is slow.


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