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    Symptoms of AMD

    A regular check of the macula is essential to ensure early detection of age-related macular degeneration.

    Man looking at letters on an eye chart

    You can have early signs of age-related macular degeneration (that is, drusen in the macula) without knowing. That’s why it’s so important to have regular eye examinations, including a check of the macula.

    During the early and intermediate stages of age-related macular degeneration, you may not notice any symptoms.

    Sydney Opera House. The image is distorted with straight lines appearing bent to simulate AMD.
    Image (above) shows straight lines appearing wavy or bent. It’s one visual symptom of age-related macular degeneration.

    However, as the disease progresses, visual symptoms of age-related macular degeneration may appear. They can include one or more of the following:

    • difficulty reading or any other activity which requires fine vision (despite wearing glasses)
    • distortion, where wavy lines appear bent
    • difficulty distinguishing faces
    • dark or blurred patches in the centre of your vision

    The need for increased illumination, sensitivity to glare, decreased night vision and reduced colour vision may also indicate that there’s something wrong.

    Image shows point of view of a person using a walking frame. The centre of the image is blurred, to simulate vision loss from age-related macular degeneration.
    Blurred central vision (above) or dark patches are symptoms of late-stage AMD

    If you experience any changes in vision, never dismiss this as just part of getting older.

    The earlier a diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration is made, the better. That’s why it’s essential to have an eye examination including a check of the macula by an eye health professional (optometrist or ophthalmologist).

    If you don’t already have an optometrist, you can find one in your area using our online search.

    It’s also really important to actively monitor any changes in your vision between visits to your eye health professional. You can do this with an Amsler grid. Amsler grids are available FREE from Macular Disease Foundation Australia.

    If you already have a diagnosis of AMD, a sudden change in vision detected on the Amsler grid may indicate that the disease has progressed.

    With wet (neovascular) AMD, vision changes can be sudden and severe, and can occur even if you have been told you have dry (atrophic) AMD.

    If you ever notice a sudden change in vision, report it immediately to your eye health professional. Early action is crucial to saving your sight.