Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration (AMD) in Portland Maine

By Scott Steidel, M.D.

The Vitreoretinal Surgeons and Retina Specialists at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland have extensive experience and expertise in the diagnosis of macular degeneration (AMD). As with most eye conditions and diseases, it is important to have routine eye examinations in order to help preserve eye health and vision.  By scheduling regular eye exams, you are giving yourself the advantage of allowing your eye doctor to make an early diagnosis of macular degeneration. More importantly, if at any time you experience any “distortion” or “twisting”, “shadowing” or “bending” of objects in your vision, you should schedule an appointment at Eyecare Medical Group immediately.  Be sure to let the receptionist know that you are experiencing these symptoms.

If you are over the age of 40-45 and anyone in your family has been told that they have macular degeneration, it is a good idea to have a complete eye examination each year.  Make certain that you tell the eye doctors and staff at Eyecare Medical Group if you have a family history of macular degeneration. During your eye examination, eye drops will be put in your eyes to dilate your pupils in order to carefully examine the macula and retina using various types of instruments and sources of high magnification.

Additional tests that your doctor may perform to further evaluate the macula during your eye examination can include checking your color vision and an Amsler Grid Test, which helps identify distortion of your central vision, and may be an indication of swelling or fluid under the Macula.

Amsler's Chart
Amsler Grid

While it may appear simple, the Amsler Grid Test is actually a very significant test.  By using the Amsler Grid, it is possible to detect small changes in your vision that can result from the accumulation of just a small amount of fluid under your Macula. Your eye doctor may actually recommend that you take an Amsler Grid home and use it each day to check for slight changes in your vision.  If this is necessary, your eye doctor and staff will supply you with an Amsler Grid and detailed instructions on how to use it.

If your doctor detects any signs of macular degeneration or he or she believes that you may be at risk for macular degeneration, they will schedule an appointment for you with an Eyecare Medical Group Retina Specialist as additional testing may be necessary. Our Retina Specialists may find it necessary for you to have some specialized color pictures and testing taken of the macula and retina.  The two most common tests are Intravenous Fluorescein Angiogram (IVF) and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT).  During an IVF a special fluorescent dye is injected into a vein in your arm.  By using a high speed digital camera, a series of photographs will be taken in rapid succession as the dye passes throughout the retinal blood vessels.  From these pictures, if present, your Retina Specialist will be able to see any fluid leakage or new blood vessel growth beneath the retina.  An OCT test does not require any injections.  It uses light waves in a fashion similar to ultrasound to very precisely measure your retina.  Your eye doctor will be able to see if you have fluid in your retina, and if so, how much.  This test is especially useful to monitor for changes although both the IVF and OCT tests will also show any changes or damage to the macula and retina and the extent of the changes.  Most important, these tests give us a considerable amount of information regarding whether certain types of treatments such as Laser Treatment for Macular Degeneration or Intravitreal Injections such as Avastin®, Eylea® or Lucentis® might help stabilize your vision and prevent vision loss.  Today, thanks to the advances in treating Wet Macular Degeneration, if caught early, it may be possible to avoid significant vision loss.

Macular Degeneration is a complex eye disease. Fortunately with early diagnosis it is possible to have a number of treatment options available to help preserve your vision.

If you, a family member or friend have not had a recent eye examination or if you are over 50 and especially if you have a family member who has macular degeneration, you may be at greater risk for macular degeneration. Please schedule an appointment by calling Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine at 888-374-2020

Eyecare Medical Group provides diagnosis and treatment of age related macular degeneration in Maine and is conveniently located for patients in from Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Berwick, Biddeford, Bridgton, Brunswick, Cape Neddick, Casco Bay, Cumberland Center, Eliot, Freeport, Gardiner, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, Springvale, Topsham, Waterville, Westbrook, Winslow, Wiscasset, Yarmouth, Portland, Skowhegan and York Maine.

Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine is conveniently located for patients with Cataracts interested in
Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants (IOL), LASIK, Diabetic Eye Problems, Macular Degeneration (AMD), Glaucoma,
Diseases and Surgery of the Retina & Cornea including Retinal Detachment & Cornea Transplants.