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What are the Most Common Macular Degeneration Symptoms?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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Macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease which involves the gradual degeneration of the macula, an area in the center of the eye, is accompanied with a variety of symptoms, all of which revolve around changes in vision. Macular degeneration is more common in adults over age 50, and if people recognize macular degeneration symptoms, they should seek medical treatment so that they can receive a diagnosis and discuss their options with a doctor. Patients should also be aware that macular degeneration is painless, and if pain accompanies vision problems, macular degeneration is not responsible for the changes.

This condition usually occurs slowly over the course of time, making the onset of macular degeneration symptoms very gradual. Many patients don't realize the extent of the damage because they start using whichever eye is better until the symptoms grow so bad that they are readily apparent. Regular vision examinations can be used to detect macular degeneration in the early stages, and to identify other eye conditions which could be treatable and fully curable in the other stages, such as diabetic retinopathy.

People with macular degeneration will not go blind, but the center of their vision will gradually become obscured, which can make it difficult to perform basic tasks. Macular degeneration symptoms often start with blurred or fuzzy vision, and difficulty with seeing objects up close or in the long distance. Over time, people can develop blind spots and marks in their eye which are distracting or irritating.

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One of the classic macular degeneration symptoms can be illustrated with the use of a grid of straight lines. As the degeneration progresses, straight lines will appear bent in the afflicted eye, which means that a grid will not read as a square, with the patient complaining that the lines are bending and the squares in the grid are deformed. Macular degeneration symptoms can also involve a difference in color perception and visual acuity between the eyes, and the distortion of shapes between the eyes. For example, one eye might perceive a yellow line in the road as relatively straight, while the other might think that it is bending.

Many people with macular degeneration also experience haziness in their vision, and they typically have trouble in low light environments. They may start using more lights to see when working on projects, or feel discombobulated in dark rooms. Hallucinations are another symptom of macular degeneration which can occur in some patients.

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