When trying to explain myopic macular degeneration to people, I receive the same question time and time again. “What does myopic macular degeneration look like?” I typically use the phrases “distorted central vision” or “shadowy areas”. They are accurate descriptions, but can be difficult for those not diagnosed with macular disease to really visualize.
What does Macular Degeneration Look Like?
Fortunately, the Macular Society created a video which shows the visual progression of someone with macular disease.
What does Myopic Macular Degeneration Look Like?
As mentioned, I think this video does a fantastic job simulating macular degeneration. But I wanted to add some additional image to show benign bleeds as well.
Active Bleeds VS. Benign Bleeds
Some people wonder how I can tell if I have an active bleed versus a benign one. Active bleeds tend to be closer to the center of vision, larger than benign bleeds and are usually quite dense. This screenshot from the video is pretty accurate for me. How dark the spot is varies based on the severity of the bleed.
While not a perfect representation, the three added gray areas are similar to what I see when I have new blood spots appearing in my vision. These spots tend to be smaller, in my peripheral vision, and less dense than active bleeds.
Central Vision Distortion
One addition I would make to the video concerns central vision distortion. For the time being, after I receive injections the dark patches displayed in the video go away. However, what lingers after the fluid is dissolved is less the blurriness seen in the video and more like the distortion pictured in the image above. It’s an inability to see straight lines as they appear; they all have curves or indents added to them. This particularly makes reading difficult as I can easily confuse the letters C, D, and O, as well as the numbers 6 and 8.
Macular Week 2018
Did you know that we’re currently in Macular Week? For 2018, Macular Week runs from June 25 – 29, so you can expect to see a couple posts about macular degeneration in a row, along with more discussion about it on my social media pages. When I decided to start this blog, I did it in the interest of giving those diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration a real person they can connect with, as well as explaining to others what we live with every day. I have a lot of posts and ideas to share soon about Disney, entertainment, and the places I visit. But for this week let’s celebrate #EyeHealth and the people who live or help those with macular diseases.
Interesting. I have MMD, and while I have no central vision in one eye, at the moment I have no dark spot when using both eyes, only a little blurring (more due to the cataracts that often accompany MMD) and little or no distortion currently, though I have had it after bleeds in the past. One point I make to people is that specs only get you so far – for a perfect movie you need a good screen as well as a projector, and my “screen” (retina) is like a wall with chunks of plaster missing. Also wearing 10D or higher specs to start with is a bit like looking down the wrong end of a telescope!
I have central vision distortion in both eyes as a result of the scarring, but luckily my right eye is much better than my left so it tends to “take over” and make it less noticeable when I’m using both eyes. And I absolutely love the way you describe it in terms of the movie screen!
Wonderful post! Thank your sharing your experience and trying to help me understand. I have severe vision issies during Hemiplegic Migraine but it does go away.
You are a strong person!