Diagnosis

Your doctor will review your medical and family history and conduct a complete eye exam. To confirm a diagnosis of macular degeneration, he or she may do several other tests, including:

  • Examination of the back of your eye. Your eye doctor will put drops in your eyes to dilate them and use a special instrument to examine the back of your eye. He or she will look for fluid or blood or a mottled appearance that's caused by drusen. People with macular degeneration often have many drusen — yellow deposits that form under the retina.
  • Test for defects in the center of your vision. During an eye exam, your eye doctor may use an Amsler grid to test for defects in your central vision. If you have macular degeneration, some of the straight lines in the grid will look faded, broken or distorted.
  • Fluorescein angiography. During this test, your doctor injects a colored dye into a vein in your arm. The dye travels to and highlights the blood vessels in your eye. A special camera takes pictures as the dye travels through the blood vessels. The images will show if you have abnormal blood vessels or retinal changes.
  • Indocyanine green angiography. Like fluorescein angiography, this test uses an injected dye. It may be used to confirm the findings of a fluorescein angiography or to identify specific types of macular degeneration.
  • Optical coherence tomography. This noninvasive imaging test displays detailed cross-sections of the retina. It identifies areas of thinning, thickening or swelling. This test is also used to help monitor how the retina responds to macular degeneration treatments.
Dec. 24, 2015
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Age-related macular degeneration. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  2. Preferred Practice Pattern: Age-related macular degeneration. San Francisco, CA: American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2015. http://www.aao.org/preferred-practice-pattern/age-related-macular-degeneration-ppp-2015. Accessed Sept. 22, 2015.
  3. Age-related macular degeneration? American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/amd.cfm. Accessed Sept. 17, 2015.
  4. Facts about age-related macular degeneration. National Eye Institute. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts.asp. Accessed Sept. 17, 2015.
  5. Lawrenson JG, et al. Omega 3 fatty acids for preventing or slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/sp-3.16.0b/ovidweb.cgi. Accessed Sept. 22, 2015.
  6. Yanoff M, et al., eds. Age-related macular degeneration. In: Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 17, 2015.
  7. Ranibizumab. Micromedex. http://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed Oct. 8, 2015.
  8. Garg SJ. Age-related macular degeneration. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/eye-disorders/retinal-disorders/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd-or-armd. Accessed Sept. 22, 2015.
  9. Moja L, et al. Systemic safety of bevacizumab versus ranibizumab for neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/sp-3.17.0a/ovidweb.cgi. Accessed Sept. 22, 2015.
  10. Aflibercept. Micromedex. http://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed Oct. 8, 2015.
  11. Arroyo JG. Age-related macular degeneration: Treatment and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 25, 2015.
  12. Riggin EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 22, 2015.
  13. Garrity J. Structure and function of the eyes. Merck Manual Consumer Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/eye-disorders/biology-of-the-eyes/structure-and-function-of-the-eyes. Accessed Sept. 28, 2015.
  14. Sloan FA, et al. The effects of technological advances on outcomes for elderly persons with exudative age-related macular degeneration. JAMA Ophthalmology. 2014;132:456.