Study Findings May Point Way for Easier Macular Degeneration Test

A recent study suggests that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may be diagnosed less expensively, more rapidly and just as effectively under bright lights as compared with tests that first require patients to sit in a darkened room.

AMD affects millions of Americans, and it is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over age 65. There is currently no cure for AMD, although there are some treatments that can slow its progression.

There are differing opinions as to whether AMD tests conducted in light are better than those in which a patient’s vision is first adapted to darkness. One reason for this is because the vision cells in the eye’s rods that are used to see in low light tend to die off earlier in macular degeneration than those used in bright daylight.

Increasing research, however, indicates that while the cones in the eye die later than the rods, they actually begin to deteriorate at the same time as the cells used for night, or dark, vision. In order to assess whether AMD diagnosis could be effectively conducted under bright light, Australian researchers used a device to test how participants’ pupils responded to visual stimuli.

The manner in which pupils respond provides a reliable indicator of how well your eyes are working. Researchers found that they were able to diagnose AMD through this method just as effectively as longer, more traditional AMD tests.

If you would like to learn more about age-related macular degeneration, please contact to find an eye doctor near you.