Diagnostic Eye Examinations

Macular Degeneration Tests You Can Do at Home

Here are a couple of quick and simple vision tests that can be performed anytime to check whether your sight is deteriorating. To perform this first vision test, rapidly blink one eye, while covering the other eye, and look at some neutral object such as a white wall. Rendered in the two following graphics you see what I see with Macular Degeneration when I try this test.


Fuzzy Blob Test

macular degeneration test - Dark color blob simulation
macular degeneration test - Light color blob simulation

The picture to the left is a simulated representation of the post retinal image as interpreted by the brain. After I blink, I notice that there is a latent image of a blotchy disc. The dark areas represent leaked blood that the fovea must look through and the lighter areas represent looking through a mass of scar tissue. The colors range from black-brown to yellow with fuzzy areas at the edges. No discernible shapes are recognized through this blob. The image on the right one represents the same test but with a lower source of brightness such as a darker wall.

Important: If you see these post retinal images when you blink, then its time to see an ophthalmologist and have your eyes thoroughly examined to see if you are starting to get some form of age-related macula degeneration. If you leave it too long then there is little that can be done to halt the process. Most people never really notice its happening until its too late.


Eye Tests and Exams

Eye Chart

Whether you are concerned about macular degeneration or not, everyone needs to have their eyesight tested to check for vision and eye problems. Many adults need more than a simple vision screening, they need a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Getting comprehensive dilated eye exams is especially important because some eye diseases may not have warning signs. The exams are the only way to detect these eye diseases in their early stages, when they are easier to treat.

The eye exam includes several tests:

Peripheral Vision Test A visual field test to measure your side (peripheral) vision. A loss of peripheral vision may be a sign of glaucoma.
Visual Acuity Test A visual acuity test, where you read an eye chart about 20 feet away, to check on how well you see at various distances. This common eye chart gives an indication of a persons visual acuity in terms of two numbers, such as 20/100. This means you can see at 20 feet the same thing that a normal sighted person can see at 100 feet. The higher the second number, the worse your sight is. Normal sight is rated at 20/20.
Tonometry Eye Test Tonometry, which measures your eye's interior pressure. It helps to detect glaucoma.
Dilated Eye Exams Dilation, which involves getting eye drops that dilate (widen) your pupils. This allows more light to enter the eye. Your eye care provider examines your eyes using a special magnifying lens. This provides a clear view of important tissues at the back of your eye, including the retina, macula, and optic nerve.

There are web sites that offer interactive acuity tests you can run online but most eye experts caution against using these type of home eye exams. If you are concerned at all about your vision, contact your local vision specialist for a comprehensive eye exam.