How is AMD diagnosed?

The key to slowing or preventing vision loss is regular eye exams. People age 60 or older should get a complete eye exam and follow-up with eye exams every one or two years or as indicated by the eye doctor. It is important to maintain a routine schedule of eye exams even if there are no noticeable vision problems.

Eye Tests

During an eye exam, the eye doctor will conduct the following tests:

Visual acuity: This will determine how well a person can see through his or her central vision and if there is a decrease in visual acuity.

Dilated eye examination:The eye doctor will dilate (widen) the pupil of the eye, with eye drops to allow a closer look at the back of the eye. The doctor will look for buildup of drusen, new abnormal retinal blood vessels, and a breakdown of pigment and light-sensitive cells in the macula.

Amsler grid: This will test for problems in the macula. An Amsler Grid is made of straight horizontal and vertical lines. AMD may make the straight lines in the grid to appear faded, broken or wavy.

If the eye doctor suspects AMD, then the following tests may be conducted:

Optical coherence tomography (OCT): The OCT examination provides a cross sectional image of the eye, which can show if the macula is thickened and/or if fluid is leaking.

Fluorescein angiography:During this test, a dye is injected into the arm that “lights up” the blood vessels in the eye while multiple photos are taken of the back of the eye.  These images will show if there are new blood vessels in macula and /or there is leaking of dye to determine if an individual has wet AMD.