A new research project based at Aston University has begun to investigate the possibilities of a new form of testing to diagnose wet AMD or age-related macular degeneration, specifically the early symptoms. The vision test focuses on a patients abilities to differentiate colour contrasts, with poor results possibly indicating the early signs of the condition.
Macular degeneration is an eye condition that is usually more common in adults of an older age and causes vision loss in the centre of someones sight due to retinal damage. Such vision loss creates problems for the sufferer to distinguish faces although the level of blindness usually allows someone enough sight to take on other daily activities. It is one of the major causes of blindness or visual impairment in those over 50 years of age. Wet AMD is caused by abnormal blood vessel growth in the choriocapillaris, which causes leaks of blood and protein below the macula, in turn causing irreversible damage to the eye and a persons quality of sight. Once diagnosed, treatments can be effective in managing the disease, but without early detection, the condition can deteriorate rapidly.
The project being researched tests a sufferers ability to distinguish shades and contrasts of colours. Someone with the early stages of wet AMD will display a poor ability to see a difference between these, which could be an early sign of vision loss and a marker for the onset of the condition. The inability to determine differences between colour shades may be due to retinal structural damage. In detecting instances of this early, management treatments can be administered to help fight the condition and prevent further loss of sight.
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