Macular Degeneration Diagnosis

Your Henry Ford ophthalmologist may use a standard eye exam and tests to make a macular degeneration diagnosis.

If you experience changes in your central vision, such as distorted or blurry vision, dark spots or other similar symptoms, you may have macular degeneration – a loss of vision in the macula, the center of the retina and the area of central vision.

Macular degeneration diagnosis

In some cases, your Henry Ford ophthalmologist can make a macular degeneration diagnosis as a result of your standard eye exam. However, in most cases, your physician will need to perform additional macular degeneration tests, such as taking special photos of your macula – to further diagnose macular degeneration or rule out the presence of other diseases.

Fluorescein angiogram macular degeneration test

One advanced test used to make a macular degeneration diagnosis is called a fluorescein angiogram. It helps your ophthalmologist determine the condition of your macula.

During this macular degeneration test:

  • A fluorescent dye is injected into a small vein in your arm.
  • As the dye circulates through your eyes, a special camera takes a series of photographs.
  • The photographs determine if your macula is showing signs of deterioration.
  • The photographs also help to determine the extent and exact location of any abnormal blood vessels growing under the macula.

Your Henry Ford ophthalmologist will want to monitor abnormal blood vessels under the macula. If they rupture, they can leak fluid into your macula, affecting your vision significantly.

Optical coherence tomography

Another macular degeneration diagnosis tool is optimal coherence tomography (OCT), an advanced diagnostic technology that produces high-resolution, cross-sectional imaging without the need for an invasive tissue biopsy. An OCT scan is like an ultrasound, except that it uses light instead of sound to capture images of your retina and its surrounding structures.

During this macular degeneration test:

  • Your eyes will be dilated
  • You will place your head on a chin rest
  • You will be asked to hold still for a few minutes while a light beam is shone into your eyes

This macular degeneration test is painless. It is a valuable tool to help your ophthalmologist determine the amount of leakage from abnormal vessels of the macula, and the effect of treatment on tissue leakage.

Amsler grid test

You can also assess your vision for distortion and other common macular degeneration symptoms by taking the Amsler Grid test at home. This tool helps to assess early vision loss as well as the progression of macular degeneration for those who have already been diagnosed. It is very important that you check one eye at a time by covering each eye to assess vision loss in the other.

At Henry Ford, patients come first.

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.

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