Age related macular degeneration? - Macular Society

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Age related macular degeneration?


Hi I’m a 68 yr old and Last year my vision jumped suddenly within less tha 3 months from minus 6.25/7.75 diopter to a much bigger minus 10.50/11.25 diopter and was referred to the hospital to get it checked out ,I was also suffering from floaters and when trying to sleep I had visions of a roaring fire in a stone built fireplace, at the hospital they checked me out and basically said nothing ohh it sounds like Charles-bonnet-syndrome, with a drop in vision your mind makes up pictures,your not going mad but if the visions turn nasty come back,their is no cure and try moving your head/body and they will go away. anyway over the months my hallucinations are getting more and more vivid in fact they were like movies and in the end started to enjoy them , then the enjoyment started to fade as fatigue started to creep in then upon waking my eyes seemed sore and I seemed to be looking through net curtains then after a few blinks they opened .as my yearly eye test was due I mentioned this to the optician (spec savers) who said sounds like early age related macular degeneration eat plenty of greens especially kale and will see you next year , question should I go to my GP for a referral but after the last hospital visit i felt a bit foolish and as if I was wasting their time,I’m not sure really what to do thanks.

4 Replies

Hi mottoguzzi

So sorry to hear about your eye problems. I must say, I am a bit puzzled. When your eyesight dropped in such short time last year - and it clearly was a big drop - did the clinic not tell you what may have caused it? There must have been a reason because such sudden drop is not normal. The minus sign has no significance other than that it indicates that you are short-sighted in comparison with a plus sign, which indicates farsightedness, but the need for so drastically stronger glasses should have set the alarm bells ringing. Has your eyesight improved at all since then? Your poor vision may well account for the Charles Bonnet Syndrome.

The other issue that puzzles me is that your opticians say "it may be the beginning of early AMD. Did they not check your eyes? Did they not see any evidence of it? Though this may be forgivable as not all opticians have the sophisticated equipment that clinics have and at the early stages nothing can be done anyway.

You say your eyes feel sore on waking up. This could be - and I say could - dry eye, for which you can get artificial tears, such as viscotear or hylotear. There are a number of good products on the market. It may well alleviate the soreness.

Other than that, I would suggest you see your GP regarding the fatigue. There could be other reasons for that. Also: check your eyes regularly on the amsler grid. If you notice any sudden change go to A&E immediately.

Hope all goes well for you. Let us know how you fare.

Best wishes

mottoguzzi in reply to Hidden

Hi, thanks for the reply but ref to the big drop in diopter,s It didn’t really ring alarm bells as my sight had jumped previously by two diopter’s so just thought that’s life get on with it the only concern’s I had were firstly the cost to get the lenses thinner (vanity) but then my head took over ,why pay £600 plus for thinner lenses when they could be useless in two three months so I went for standard lenses £380 which are quite thick and heavy but having to wear two hearing aids as well vanity is out the window. I can’t wear contact lenses because apparently I have weird shaped eyes like rugby balls with flat spots which create air bubbles behind the contacts ? and As I said the hospital weren’t very helpfull , and the optician this time wasn’t very good , his English was poor and I don’t know if it was my hearing or what but he took some understanding,he said he was newly qualified so I had to bare with him , I remember during the test he said something like well that’s the best I can do your prescription has minimal changes , he took pictures of the back of my eyes and didn’t say much,he seemed to just want me to have the lenses thinned ( more commission) as you can imagine I refused the offer after a year of jam jar glasses I’ve got used to the weight of the glasses and the stares from people, I’m using artificial tears and he did give me a grid chart which I keep checking for wavy lines/boxes and black spots etc, and sorry I think the fatigue is more from watching the hallucinations than sleeping. but I’ll be making an appointment at the doctors tomorrow , I’m a bit concerned about losing my driving licence, I can pass the requirements for the driving sight test but I have voluntary stopped driving at night as I do struggle with the lights, i will give further updates thanks

PatMc50 in reply to mottoguzzi

If your optician took pics of the back of your eyes this should have flagged up AMD. I am 68 and had my AMD diagnosed last year when I went for my sight test at Boots who have all the modern equipment. They wrote to my doctor who arranged an appointment at the eye infirmary. I was then told I had dry AMD in right eye and wet AMD in the other. I am currently receiving injections for wet AMD. As for paying a fortune for thin lenses, you can get ultra thin lenses for the same price as regular lenses at any Asda store opticians. I got 2 pairs for around £119 when my prescription was - 6.00 and - 7.00. Please do go to your docs and tell them your worries and ask for a referral to your local eye hospital for further investigation. Hope you get the answers you are looking for soon.


Dear mottoguzzi,

It would be worth ringing the opticians and clarifying your diagnosis.

Dry AMD is primarily related to the ageing process and is more common in individuals over the age of 55 years. The deterioration is generally slow and over a period of months and years. However, how fast and how far the condition deteriorates is variable between individuals. There is currently no treatment for it, however, we talk about the importance of lifestyle considerations which can hopefully have a positive impact on eye health and potentially slow down the deterioration a little. Therefore, for instance, exercise is good for eye health in addition to general health. It is important to try and maintain a healthy weight, keep blood pressure under control and avoid smoking. Research indicates that being careful with regard to nutrition can also potentially have a positive impact on eye health as well as general health. It is also important to consider protecting the eyes from the harmful effects of the sun. Optometrists do not generally refer individuals to an ophthalmologist for the dry type.

10-15% of people with the dry type go on to develop wet AMD in the same eye. Therefore it is important that if an individual does notice any sudden eye changes, that they act rapidly and go to the optometrist so that they can check behind their eyes. Alternately, they can attend the emergency eye clinic usually located within the hospital. If the optometrist identifies possible wet AMD, then the Royal College of Ophthalmology guidelines indicate that they must do a fast track referral on the day of the appointment, via fax or email, straight through to the eye clinic, so that the individual can be seen and treated by 2 weeks. This therefore indicates the urgency of the situation. Treatment is usually via injection. It is important to check an Amsler grid weekly to help gauge any sudden changes. There is one in the below Guide to AMD.

I am copying links to the following booklets:

Visual hallucinations:

Guide to AMD:


Plus our Essential care guides to wet and dry AMD:

Please call us to discuss any concerns further.

The Macular Society Advice and Information service is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday on 0300 3030 111.

Alternately, you can contact us via:

Kind regards,

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