When to Seek Medical Advice

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You should seek medical help (preferably an ophthalmologist) if you notice a sudden change in your vision immediately.

For age-related macular degeneration, you should see an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery).

In general, people older than 45 years should have a complete eye examination and then follow-up examinations every two to four years.

People with age-related macular degeneration should check their vision daily and promptly notify their ophthalmologist of any changes in their vision.

It should be very rare that a person must go to a hospital for macular degeneration problems. Because of the specialized nature of eye examination equipment, macular degeneration problems are usually handled best in the ophthalmologist’s office.

If you notice a sudden decrease in vision in one or both of your eyes and you cannot reach your ophthalmologist, go to the hospital’s emergency department. Timely treatment of early wet age-related macular degeneration can prevent further visual loss.

Visual symptoms and/or eye pain may not be symptoms of age-related macular degeneration. You may need prompt diagnosis and treatment of a different eye condition.

Here are a few suggestions to help get the dialog started:

  • What can I do to decrease my chances of losing more vision?
  • What low-vision aids are available to help me with my remaining vision?
  • What symptoms should I watch for?
  • What lifestyle changes should I make?
  • What treatment options are available for my condition?