Preparing for your appointment

To check for macular degeneration, a dilated eye exam is usually necessary. Make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in eye care — an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. He or she can perform a complete eye exam.

What you can do

Before your appointment:

  • When you make the appointment, ask if you need to do anything to prepare.
  • List any symptoms you're experiencing, including those that seem unrelated to your vision problem.
  • List all medications, vitamins and supplements you take, including doses.
  • Ask a family member or friend to accompany you. Having your pupils dilated for the eye exam will affect your vision for a time afterward, so you may need someone to drive or accompany you after your appointment.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

For macular degeneration, questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Do I have dry or wet macular degeneration?
  • How advanced is my macular degeneration?
  • Is it safe for me to drive?
  • Will I experience further vision loss?
  • Can my condition be treated?
  • 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 changes in my symptoms warrant calling you?
  • What low vision aids might be helpful to me?
  • What lifestyle changes can I make to protect my vision?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you first notice your vision problem?
  • Does the condition affect one or both eyes?
  • Do you have trouble seeing things near you, at a distance or both?
  • Do you smoke or did you used to smoke? If so, how much?
  • What types of foods do you eat?
  • Do you have other medical problems, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes?
  • Do you have a family history of macular degeneration?
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.