Test Your Macular Degeneration Risk

Macular Degeneration Test

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration is an eye disorder that results in damaged sharp and central vision and affects an estimated 1.8 million Americans 40 years and older. Macular Degeneration is largely associated with aging, but in the modern world of electronic devices all ages should be aware of the eye disorder. Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in adults and the effects are permanent. The good news is you can reduce the risk with a few changes in your daily behaviors. Also, you can use the self-test at the end of this article to check if you’re at risk.

Risk factors for Macular Degeneration:

  • 40+ years old
  • Family history
  • Current or prior smoker
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Overweight
  • Low macular pigment
  • Sun exposure
  • Drusen (tiny yellow or white deposits under the retina identified by your eye VSP® doctor)

macular degenration

(What your VSP doctor sees when detecting macular degeneration.)


How can you prevent Macular Degeneration?

Current technology can detect your risk of developing macular degeneration years before it develops. Ask your eye doctor to measure your macular pigment, as you are much more likely to develop macular degeneration if you have low macular pigment. In the meantime, an easy change you can make is to adjust your diet. In fact, macular pigment is often controlled through diet, so don’t forget to eat your vegetables because they may save your sight. Certain nutrients directly impact macular health.

Another thing you can do is control the amount of “blue light” you’re taking in from electronic devices like smartphones and computers. Some anti-glare lens coatings, such as TechShield from Sharper Image, include filtering to reduce blue-light intake. A vision plan can help you save money on such coatings. For those of you who don’t have a vision service plan and need glasses, visit VSPDirect.com to learn more about individual vision insurance plans available direct to you.

Test your eyes in 90 seconds.

There’s a grid you can use to detect possible signs of Macular Degeneration. Print it out here and follow these steps: 

  1. Close one eye
  2. Focus on the dot in the center
  3. Switch eyes

If you notice blurry/wavy lines or dark/blank spots, let your eye doctor know as soon as possible. And, if you need to see an eye doctor, but don’t have vision insurance, check out affordable vision plans from VSP Direct™. An eye exam, glasses, and/or contacts are covered. You can learn more about vision service plans available in your area by visiting VSPDirect.com.