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Latest Questions and Answers
My 88-year-old mother has macular degeneration in both eyes. She has no central vision in her right eye, but has 20/60 vision in her left eye. Why can she see the chart at 20/60, but cannot see large print? I have taken her to a center where they specialize in working with people who have partial vision and she was not able to read using any of the assistive devices. I am confused and would appreciate any suggestions or comments. [ 11/25/11 ]

The eye chart measures distance vision, which is different from near or reading vision. After the age of 40 – 60, aging of the natural lens causes near vision to slowly decline. This can typically be corrected with reading glasses. If your mother cannot read despite a current spectacle correction including a reading correction, something else may be going on with her eye. She could have changes from age-related macular degeneration that were not noted during the eye examination, but do limit her ability to read. Please talk further with your mother's eye doctor as to why she cannot read while using corrective eyeglasses.


I receive injections every four weeks for wet age-related macular degeneration. After having cataract surgery, I went for my injection and the speculum was put on my eye incorrectly, which opened the wound from the cataract surgery; fluid then began to leak out. Since that time, the vision in that eye has become very blurry and sometimes I have double vision. Did the leaking fluid cause any issues with my macular region? [ 11/23/11 ]

The fluid leaking out of the eye can cause changes in the eye pressure. If the eye pressure falls beneath a certain point, the eye will start to lose the normal shape, which can cause blurred vision. If the fluid is no longer leaking from the cataract surgery wound, the eye will quickly regain normal pressure and the blurred vision will resolve. No definitive link as been established between cataract surgery or wound leaks after cataract surgery and progression of age-related macular degeneration.


I am 63 years old, and my doctor informed me that I have drusen in both eyes near the macula. The Amsler grid looks normal to me; however, when I look at a road sign, a telephone line, or a straight line object, I can see a very small distortion at the exact spot I am looking at. I never noticed this until after my doctor’s visit. Is this a sign that wet macular degeneration is developing? Should I reschedule a visit with the doctor? [ 09/27/11 ]

Visual distortion in patients with dry age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is frequently related to the conversion to the wet form of the disease. You might have early ARMD and may benefit from evaluation by your eye doctor. A small region of distortion can be caused by a variety of reasons, but several of them are vision threatening. The possibility of a vision threatening process such as wet ARMD merits an evaluation to help you sort out what exactly might be causing your distortion.


My wife, who is 37 years old, just went for an eye check, and they noticed some white spots in her left eye. The doctor told her that she has macular degeneration, but I thought that macular degeneration spots were yellow and not white. She is going to see a specialist now, but do you have any idea as to what eye condition my wife might have if it is not macular degeneration? My wife’s 68-year-old father also has macular degeneration that started a few years ago. [ 09/26/11 ]

Yellow-white spots, called drusen, are a common finding in macular degeneration. A type of drusen can also be found in eyes without age-related macular degeneration, and these particular drusen are considered normal. Age-related macular degeneration typically does not present before 55 years of age, so your wife may have these drusen. The white spots could be from a variety of other processes, some harmless and others very concerning. Please speak to your eye doctor about the white spot finding and its significance.


Is the optical coherence tomography (OCT) test painful, risky, or uncomfortable? What should I expect to happen during the test? Is it crucial to a diagnosis? What is the angio test? [ 09/24/11 ]

The OCT test has minimal risk and is very comfortable. You will place your chin on a chin rest and be asked to look at a light. The actual OCT picture taking process should take less than a minute, and involves a dim light focused in your retina. An OCT test is a valuable ancillary test for management of a variety of retinal diseases and will be very helpful to your retina specialist.

The fluorescein angiography test involves the injection of a dye into your veins to monitor for any problems of the retinal blood vessels. The procedure involves a small needle stick. Side effects to the dye or procedure are rare, but most commonly involve nausea. Very rarely someone can have an allergic reaction to the dye which can be life threatening. Please speak to your retina specialist about the risks of any study prior to undergoing the actual test.


I have had the wet type of macular degeneration for seven years. Due to pneumonia and various other illnesses, I have been prescribed antibiotics several times. I am wondering if antibiotics can cause macular degeneration to worsen. Also, I had two stents put in my heart four years ago and I take Plavix daily. I am also worried that this medication will hasten the progression of my macular degeneration. Thank you for your input. [ 09/22/11 ]

No definitive link has been established between progression of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and antibiotics or Plavix. Smoking, certain dietary factors, and genetic factors have been linked to ARMD progression, however. Please speak to your ophthalmologist to find out if any of these factors are applicable to you, and what steps you can take to minimize the progression of this eye disorder.


Can I take two tablespoons of olive oil and the AREDS II vitamins on a daily basis? Is taking two tablespoons of oil too much? [ 09/15/11 ]

Olive oil has not been established as treatment or preventative for any ocular condition such as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Please speak to your primary doctor if you are using olive for other medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease. The AREDS II vitamin formulation is still undergoing study, and no definitive benefit has yet been proven for patients with ARMD. The AREDS I formulation was proven beneficial only for a select group of patients with ARMD, so please ensure that you speak to your eye physician about any vitamin supplementation you might be considering for ARMD or any other eye condition.


In the 1990s, my husband had frontal and bilateral surgery on his sinuses due to excess fluid. He has recently been diagnosed with macular degeneration. Is there any evidence that links sinus surgery to the development of macular degeneration? [ 09/10/11 ]

No definite link has been established between age related macular degeneration (ARMD) and sinus surgery. Though the cause of ARMD is not completely known, the current belief is that genetics and inflammatory processes contribute to development and progression of ARMD.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional; it is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy. All medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. Also, although we make every effort to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the posted information reflects the most up-to-date research.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

Last Review: 04/26/13


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