Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Test for Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease of the retina that can severely and permanently damage vision. This disease falls into two major categories “dry” or non-exudative AMD where the seeing cells of the retina are damaged and atrophy  and “wet” or exudative AMD where new fragile blood vessels grown under the retina causing bleeding, swelling and scarring. The exudative form of the disease, while less common, is significantly more visually devastating. Happily new injectable therapies have been developed to treat this form of the disease. As with any therapy though, they are most effective if used early on. It has always been a challenge to determine when the non-exudative form of the disease converts to the exudative form of the disease. Pinpointing this change in order to intervene early on with aggressive treatments aimed at preserving vision is one of our goals. In the past we have used the Amsler Grid, an in office and take home screening test to watch for visual changes that might indicate a progression of the disease has occurred.

A new device, available in office and home versions, called the Forsee PHP has been proven to be very sensitive in detecting the change from non-exudative to exudative AMD. The test uses hyperacuity, which is our ability to detect exceptionally small misalignments of objects, to find elevations on the retina that correlate very highly with progression of AMD.

Guest Blogger: Shari E. Strier, O.D., Optometrist with the Baltimore Washington Eye Center