What Are the Effects of Macular Degeneration on Vision?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2018
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The main effects of macular degeneration on vision vary depending on the type of degeneration. Dry macular degeneration tends to cause blurry vision, mostly in the center of the visual field. Many patients with this condition need increased light to read and may notice that colors do not seem as bright as usual. The wet form of this condition often results in a blind spot, as well as a distortion that causes straight lines to look wavy. While macular degeneration is not considered curable, treatment is available to help slow down progressive vision loss.

Dry macular degeneration is the most common and least severe form of this eye condition. One of the first symptoms is difficulty performing close-up work, such as crossword puzzles or reading, because small print tends to become blurry. Patients may notice that extra light helps but, as the condition progresses, this temporary fix will stop working. Another effect of dry macular degeneration on vision is that colors start to look rather dull, so it is hard to differentiate one shade from another. Perhaps the most noticeable symptom, though, is a blurry spot in the middle of the visual field, with its size increasing as the condition gets worse.


Many cases of dry macular degeneration progress to the wet form, which features slightly different symptoms. For example, while patients with the dry form of the condition notice a blurry spot, those with wet macular degeneration have a completely blind spot. Thus, one of the main effects of wet macular degeneration on vision is the inability to see from the center of the visual field. Even without this major issue, patients often find it difficult to function well with this condition. The fact that straight lines start looking wavy can make it hard to read, while the problem of objects looking farther than they are can make it difficult to drive safely.

Few patients want to lose the ability to read, drive or simply see well, so they often seek treatment. While the effects of macular degeneration on vision are irreversible, they can be slowed down through the use of medication, such as a drug that can stop additional blood vessels from showing up in the eye in patients with the wet form of this condition. The excess blood vessels also can be sealed off with surgery, which may slow down the degenerative effects of macular degeneration on vision. Some patients prefer instead to use a combination of vitamins to treat the disease.



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