Drusen? Any ideas when found in younger person


I am 39 years old and have just been told by the optician at spec savers that I have slight wear and tear of my right eye. She wanted to be cautious and has referred me to an eye specialist. I have absolutely no symptoms and in fact my right eye is my better seeing eye. She pointed out a couple of faded white circles on the photo and explained that you shouldn't normally see this in a person of my age. She was very reassuring that was routine. On receiving a copy of the letter she has stated that she notes '3 or 4' so scattered drusen. Of course the first thing I do is Google...great I now predict I'm probably going to end up losing my central vision due to macula degeneration, although the term was not mentioned to me. I am just wondering if anyone had been in a similar situation or that by having these drusen meant that I would definitely progress onto the disease? There is no hereditary macular degenegation in my family. I'm also pregant and could do without the worry 😐 any tips / ideas / findings great fully received! I already follow a good diet. Thanks- Kate

12 Replies

  • Hello Kate,

    I am sorry to hear about your drusen.

    You are as your optician says, very young at age 39.

    It is good that you are being referred to see a hospital ophthalmologist. However, at your young age you may need to see a specialist who is experienced in diagnosing a specific condition.

    Whilst we on the Macular Society helpline are not medically trained, we do know that there are 2 types of drusen.; hard and soft.

    The hard drusen is not too much of a concern, but the soft can be a sign of a macular condition.

    Try not to get too worried at this stage; wait until you have seen an expert for a firm diagnosis.

    If the news isn't good, please call our helpline 0300 30 30 111 and we can have a chat with you.

    Best wishes


    Macular Society

  • Thank you for your reply, I'm fairly certain they are the hard ones as she said I could wait a year and go back to them for observation if I preferred. Can you recommend any specialists in the Dorset area? I have private health care. Keen to stop overthinking asap. Best - Kate

  • Hi again Kate,

    In Dorset you are limited to either Bournemouth or Dorchester. Whilst there are some competent ophthalmologists there, according to our database, none of them specialise in conditions in younger people.

    If you wanted to see a good specialist who could give you an accurate diagnose, I would suggest Professor Andrew Lotery at Southampton.

    He has a private clinic next to Southampton General Hospital. His private secretary's telephone number is 0845 652 2515.

    Please call our helpline 0300 30 30 111 (9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday).

    Best wishes

    Helpline Macular Society

  • Thank you very much, I will look him up.

    Best regards


  • I myself saw Prof Lotery privately he was very good. I had to pay though myself as I did not have private health care. It cost me Just under £1,000. He is world renowned one of the best and well respected there is.

  • That's good to know thank you. I have spoken to his secretary and the diagnostics are being arranged. I spoke to my gp about it and she thinks I'm overly worrying....is referring people of all different ages to the eye hospitalfor bits and bobs found in the retina on fundoscopy pictures, advised me to stay off Dr Google, prob good advice, hope she's right!

  • That phone number doesn't work, help

  • I have just spoken to lead opthamolagist at my opticians, he compared my pictures from 2014 and they are exactly the same. No one bothered to even mention it back then. This is quite settling as that was my first ever eye test so they could have been there years. He stated I have little reason to be concerned. Apparently the change is very subtle. I'm seeing professor lotery on Monday, hoping to be able to put it to the back of my mind. Fingers crossed! I spoke to someone on your helpline...very helpful.

  • Hello

    Just thought I would post an update. I saw professor Lotery who literally just did a visual eye test and shone the bright lights into my eyes no other diagnostics deemed necessary. Explained yes a couple of tiny drusen looked like dry and to basically forget about them, eye sight excellent no sign of degeneration. Didn't think they would ever cause me any probs especially as I'd had them for at least 4 years with no change. Could have had them years prior as it was my first ever eye test 4 years ago but they didn't even bother to tell me then.

    He was very reassuring and just said that if I wanted to have yearly eye examinations I could just to monitor them. Explained that normal to see a few in age over 50 so a couple at 39 was acceptable.

    I am naturally relieved - on the plus side it has spurred me into eating a very healthy diet also.

    May provide some reassurance to people who find themselves in a similar position.

    Thanks for previous advice


  • glad you are a lotbetter x

  • Knowing what I know now, I should not have ignored an opthamologist's advice to take vitamins for the eyes years ago. Now I have dry AMD in one eye (asymtomatic) and wet AMD in the other. Who knows if it would have helped to prevent my present problems? On them now, also with a daily kale/blueberry/broccoli etc. smoothie and hoping for the best....

  • That is the problem. There is no proof either way whether or not you could have averted AMD. When my consultant questioned my life style at my very first visit I replied: "If that was the case then why do some people start with this disease in their 40's and 50's, yet I started it at the age of 79." (Now 80 and still walk about 20 miles a week across rough countryside, sometimes alone and sometimes with our club). He had no answer to that. All he could say was: "Well, we are all different." I agree though, there is never any harm in living a healthy life style. I just object to people saying you got this or that because....

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