How do you detect AMD?
Detecting AMD in the early to intermediate stages can be difficult as patients often do not experience noticeable symptoms. At this stage, it is usually detected via a dilated eye examination conducted by an experienced eye specialist.
Eye exams take many forms, below are some of the eye exams we use in Singapore to check for signs and symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Eye drops are first used to dilate the pupils for the patient. This allows me to get a better view of the retina (the part of the eye where light rays are captured to give you sight). I’ll then use a specially made magnification lens to take a look inside the eye, checking for deformities and other unusual signs. Any signs of Age-Related Macular Degeneration appearing will be noted down and investigated in deeper detail.
Simple eye test with a chart, measuring how well your eyes see at certain distances.
This test is great for testing for distortions in your vision. I’ll get my patients to look at the Amsler Grid (which is basically a grid with straight lines and a dot at the centre), if lines appear to be wavy or in some cases, missing, it might be a sign of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Optical Coherence Tomography
Light waves are used to create very high-resolution images of the inside of the eye with this test. This gives me a very detailed report and vital information on what is happening in the areas captured.
When I do this test, I’ll first use eye drops to dilate the patient’s pupils. Once the head and eyes are in position, the chin is rested securely on the chin rest. A light beam is then fired into the patient’s eye. The patient is required to hold still for a few seconds while the images are captured by the machine. This process is painless and well tolerated by most patients.
With such high-resolution imaging, my intention is to look for several telltale signs of Age-Related Macular Degeneration such as drusen or other abnormal deposits in the retina. Though some amounts of fine drusen are totally normal as we grow older, larger pieces may indicate that the patient has developed or is developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration.