Vision Loss Due To Age Related Macular Degeneration

Vision Loss Due To Age Related Macular Degeneration

Posted on Feb.17, 2014, under Eye Conditions, Guest Blogger, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info, Low Vision Tips

Perhaps you have already suffered some kind of vision loss due to age related macular degeneration (AMD).  Typically some of the symptoms of AMD can be the same as those for cataracts.  While macular diseases are the result of changes in the back of the eye, the retina, cataract formation is the result of changes in the lens which is in the front of the eye.

For example:

Blurred Vision

The fovea, a spot in the back of the eye in the center of the macula, is responsible for vision that is sharp, detailed and clear.  Predominantly made up of cone cells, when the cone cells in this spot of the retina deteriorate, so does that sharp vision.

Likewise the lens in the front of the eye changes with age and when the proteins start clumping the clear lens now becomes hazy or foggy.  For the retina to receive a sharp clear image, the lens needs to be clear. If the lens loses that clarity then the image that is projected onto the retina is blurry.  So the blurry vision can be from either an unhealthy macula, an unclear lens or both.

Loss of Color Clarity

Cones are photoreceptor cells present in the macula and especially the fovea – the center of the macula.  Remeber “C”.  Cone cells are responsible for clarity and color.  With macular diseases, cone cells deteriorate – there are less of them and the ones that are left are not functioning like healthy cone cells. As a result colors are less vivid – they appear more pale and muted.  Distinguishing between colors is also a challenge – especially dark colors.

The lens of the eye with cataracts not only has become hazy, it has also changed from a clear lens to one that has now yellowed.  In time the tinting becomes darker. This yellow tint now alters ones color vision and everything one sees is now seen through a yellow lens.

Loss of Night Vision

An early sign of AMD is trouble seeing at night or in rooms or restaurants where the light is really low. While the cones give us our color vision, rod cells provide us with our night vision.  These photoreceptor cells often outnumber cone cells in the macula 9:1.  But as we age the number of rod cells diminish which then diminishes our ability to see at night or in the dark.

Because of changes in the lens which is now foggy and has become tinted yellow/brown, less light is able to pass through for those who have eye cataracts, making it more difficult to see at night.

These are not the only symptoms for these conditions of the eye.  For more detailed information on symptoms of macular degeneration visit:

Macular Degeneration Symptoms


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN