The macula is a small, highly sensitive area located in the center of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The retina instantly converts light, or an image, into electrical impulses.
The retina then sends these impulses, or nerve signals, to the brain where they are interpreted as an image.
Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain.
The retina's central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration
In order to determine if you have macular degeneration and what form, your doctor will measure your vision and examine your eyes. By looking at the retina, your doctor will be able to tell if there is an abnormality. If drusen are found, you will want to schedule regular check-ups to make sure that no further damage is occurring. It may be necessary that photographs of each macula be taken to use for future comparison. The following are tests given to fully diagnose ARMD:
- Dilated pupil examination: to see the inside of the eye with an ophthalmoscope to check for drusen.
- The PreView PHP is a diagnostic instrument to detect and monitor the progress of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- The results have been clinically validated and the device has a standardized analysis process.
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): uses light waves to create a contour map of the retina and can show areas of thickening or fluid accumulation.
- Fluorescein angiography (AGF): If your doctor finds an abnormality and suspects CNV, this special test will be done to detect blood vessels that might be leaking. During the test, a dye is injected into the arm and quickly travels throughout the blood system to the eye. Photographs are taken of the eye, which will later be used during laser treatment.