To check for macular degeneration, a dilated eye exam is generally necessary. Make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in eye care — an optometrist or an ophthalmologist — who can evaluate your condition and perform a comprehensive eye exam.
What you can do
Appointments can be brief. Make the best use of the limited time by preparing beforehand. For instance:
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to your vision problem.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Ask a family member or friend to accompany you. Having your pupils dilated for the eye exam may compromise your vision for a time afterward. You may need someone to drive or accompany you home from your appointment.
Questions to ask your eye doctor
- What kind of macular degeneration do I have?
- What is the visual acuity in my central vision?
- How advanced is my macular degeneration?
- Is it safe for me to drive?
- Will I experience further vision loss?
- Will taking a vitamin or mineral supplement help prevent further vision loss?
- What's the best way to monitor my vision for any changes?
- What low vision aids or adaptive devices might be helpful to me?
Questions your eye doctor may ask
Nov. 20, 2012
- When did you first notice your vision problem?
- Does the condition affect one or both eyes?
- Do you have trouble seeing things near to you, at a distance or both?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you have other medical problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes?
- Do you take any vitamins or supplements?
- What medications do you take?
- What types of foods do you eat?
- Do you have a family history of macular degeneration?
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- Evans JR, et al. Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements for preventing age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012;6:CD000253. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000253.pub3/abstract. Accessed Aug. 29, 2012.
- Johnson EJ. Age-related macular degeneration and antioxidant vitamins: Recent findings. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. 2010;13:28.
- Macular degeneration and low vision. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/amd-low-vision.cfm. Accessed Aug. 29, 2012.
- Chiu CJ, et al. Dietary carbohydrate and the progression of age-related macular degeneration: A prospective study from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;86:1210.
- Low vision aids and low vision rehabilitation. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/low-vision-aids-rehabilitation.cfm. Accessed Sept. 4, 2012.
- Chong EWT, et al. Fat consumption and its association with age-related macular degeneration. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2009;127:674.
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