|Tests your doctor might use|
The diagnosis of AMD is usually made when an ophthalmologist or optometrist, examining a patient, sees abnormalities that suggest possible AMD. These may be protein deposits on the retina, called drusen, or the presence of abnormal blood vessels or leakage. You will then be referred to a retinal specialist. In order to see more clearly what is taking place in the retina, the specialist may perform one or several photographic tests to see more clearly what is happening in your retina.
These are all non-invasive and painless. You will have a dye injected into your arm with a very small needle. Most people experience very little discomfort, though the light from the camera can be glaring.
A technician will perform a test called a fluorescein angiogram. This involves injecting a dye into the patient's arm. The dye travels quickly through the body. When it reaches the back of the eye, a rapid sequence of photos of the retina is taken. The procedure is not invasive - the photos are taken like regular pictures. The eye is dilated, so the retina can be seen through the wide open pupil. These photos show what changes have taken place in the retina and where abnormal blood vessels are located.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
Your doctor may also take specialied photos that show the layers of the retina in cross section. There is no dye or injection involved. This special photograph lets the doctor see the thickness of the retina and any inflammation and fluids. As treatment continues, additional COT images can show the effect of the therapy and can guide future treatment.
Indocyanine Green (ICG) Angiography
A procedure similar to fluorescein angiography, ICG angiography uses Indocyanine green dye which can show more detail than flourescein angiography. It also uses a dye that is injected into the eye and then digital photographs are taken.