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Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

In some people, macular degeneration gets worse so slowly that it has little effect on their vision. However, in others the disease gets worse faster and may lead to vision loss.

Sometimes only one eye is affected. The other eye may remain free of problems for many years. People with dry macular degeneration in one eye may not notice vision changes. With one eye seeing clearly, they can still drive, read, and see fine details. Some people notice changes in their vision only if macular degeneration affects both eyes.

There is no pain with dry or wet macular degeneration.

Symptoms of macular degeneration include:

Blurred vision—This is an early sign. A person may also need more light for reading and other tasks.

Problems seeing details close up—It may be hard to see words in a book or faces.

Central blind spot—A small, growing blind spot appears in the middle of a person's vision. Over time, the blurred spot may get bigger and darker. More central vision may be lost.

Crooked lines—An early symptom of wet macular degeneration is straight lines look wavy. This happens because new blood vessels leak fluid under the macula.

Lighting—Images appear grayer in color and colors are not as bright

It is important to contact an eye doctor right away for:

  • Visual distortions
  • Sudden decrease in central vision
  • A central blind spot
  • Any other vision problems


  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd.
  • What is macular degeneration? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd-macular-degeneration.
  • What is macular degeneration? American Macular Degeneration Foundation website. Available at: https://www.macular.org/about-macular-degeneration/what-is-macular-degeneration.


  • Mark Arredondo, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.