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How do you know if you have AMD?

In this series of blogs posts, which are based on short interviews (Ed: embed the youtube clip under this paragraph), Medical Retinal Expert Jaheed Khan describes the different types of AMD; including:

  • the dry and the wet,
  • how they present,
  • what they look like,
  • how they differ, and
  • how we can treat them.

In this short interview, Jaheed Khan tells us about how to know you have AMD.
Jane Olver: Jaheed with age-related macular degeneration you have told us that as an ophthalmologist you can see changes at the back of the eye. What would the patient notice? In other words, do you see the changes before they notice anything, or do they notice it first?Jaheed Khan: This is a good question, Jane. That can often be the case in both scenarios. Often we can see very mild signs of related macular degeneration and patients have symptoms and those with typical symptoms tend to be a slight blur, difficulty in focusing and sometimes patchy loss of central vision. Now, some patients have age-related macular degeneration which is quite advanced, so we see a lot of these characteristic changes in the macula, but they do not have symptoms. So, there is quite a wide spectrum of disease that affects the back of the eyes so that you can have mild changes and symptoms of blur centrally. You have moderate symptoms and have no signs of it at all unless you look at the investigation that we will describe.
JO: How can a patient monitor whether they have age-related macular degeneration?
JK: Well if you are trying to self-diagnose macular degeneration at home it is done on what you can see, and if you are noticing a patch in the central part of your vision you could cover one eye and look at something like an Amsler grid (which is a printed sheet with squares on the sheet).
Look at the regularity of those squares to see if any patches are missing, or even distorted. You do not necessarily need a sheet to look at. You could look at a straight line or an object, and if there is any slight blurring in the centre or off centre or distortion to that straight line, it could be indicative of macular degeneration.
JO: And should they see the ophthalmologist quite rapidly if they notice a distortion?
JK: I would always encourage my patients who have any new symptoms affecting their central vision to get that checked.
JO: Thanks. In the next interview with  Medical Retinal Expert Jaheed Khan, we will talk about what is he doing during a consultation to find out if you have AMD.

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