Updated by Mike Rosco, MD on 3/10/23 at 9:10 PM
Drusen are associated with age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) but are not diagnostic of the disease. Too many feel that these “spots” are indicative of ARMD, but they can, and often are, normal.
What Are These White Lesions?
Drusen are white spots, or lesions, seen within the layers of the retina. There are two types; hard and soft. The differences between the two are somewhat subtle.
Hard drusen are small and well defined with sharp borders. A poppy or sesame seed are examples of objects with sharp margins. “Hard” can be associated with macular degeneration, usually the dry (and most common) form.
Soft drusen are larger and have fluffier borders – think of the borders of a cotton ball. “Soft” can be normal, but are usually seen more often with exudative, or wet, ARMD (the less common, more harmful form).
Drusen, by definition, can be found anywhere in the retina. When they are located outside the macula, they are usually of no consequence and not related to any disease. I am usually concerned when they are located within the macula.
I have found that most non-retina people (i.e. doctors) are afraid to mention this; that drusen away from the macula are of little consequence and, if anything, can just be a family trait.
Other “Findings” of Macular Degeneration
“Findings” are the features or physical characteristics of a disease. These are the things we look for as evidence of disease.
Signs of ARMD include atrophy and/or increased retinal pigmentation, retinal swelling, and blood. There may be fibrosis (scar tissue) which is an indication of prior choroidal neovascularization. Many doctors will term anything abnormal in the macula as “scars.” This is incorrect.
In addition to physical findings, symptoms of ARMD are important to explore. Symptoms of ARMD are ways you describe changes in your vision.
Making the Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration
Ophthalmologists evaluate both the physical findings and the patient’s symptoms to make the diagnosis of macular degeneration. Though there are exceptions, it occurs predominantly in patients over the age of 50-55 years old.
Having just drusen, for example, but no change in vision or other signs of the disease, probably does NOT signify macular degeneration. It may, however, be a sign of early disease and careful monitoring may be prudent.
Many times macular degeneration is diagnosed based solely upon the physical findings, but unless there is any evidence of decreased vision, I’d hold off on making the diagnosis.
Best Test for Diagnosis
If there is any doubt about the diagnosis of macular degeneration, the single best test, in my opinion, is a fluorescein angiogram. This test can show any damage to the macula (the part of the retina responsible for central vision) that can not be seen by the usual methods. More subtle damage can be detected in this manner.
Unassociated drusen will not show any macular damage on fluorescein angiogram.
What Does This Mean? This means there are far fewer patients that actually have the disease than are diagnosed. In other words, there are instances where ARMD shouldn’t really be diagnosed. However, many docs feel that it is safer to give the diagnosis for liability reasons.
I don’t agree with this.
If there is any question about the presence or absence of macular degeneration, I would encourage you to ask your doctor about ordering a fluorescein angiogram.
233 replies on “Drusen Not Associated with Macular Degeneration”
Hi. I was told by my optometrist late last summer that I had macular degen. I am 63 years young, (people think I am in my late 40’s early 50’s), and healthy otherwise. She saw the “drusen” and then she saw another spot in my right eye, she called it a “fold” so I saw a retinal specialist from Mass Eye and Ear.
He did not do a fluorescein but instead did an OCT. I have “significant preretinal membrane/pucker at and temporal to the fovea OD with slight cystic change at the fovea” quote directly from the doctor’s notes.
My vision is fine. Some slight problem with the right eye but not much. So I don’t have AMD?
He told me to take the vitamins which I take MacuTrition. I am nervous. I go back to see him on March 29 for another OCT. He said if he had to do surgery it would be at Mass Eye and Ear.
It sounds as though there are two issues; the drusen and the epimacular membrane. Are the drusen in both eyes? If, in the eye without the preretinal membrane, but drusen, the vision is perfect (ask your doc) then I’d inquire about a fluorescein angiogram. If that is normal, then I’d ask if he thinks the drusen are normal and not associated with disease.
Based on the recommendation for supplements, I wonder if you have large, soft drusen. Do you know?
Get back to me when you have a chance.
I was just diagnosed with Familial Drusen in both eyes unrelated to the Macular. On the other side of each eye away from the Macular. My Dr. is somewhat dumbfounded. Not sure what to make of it. Says better than in just one eye “possibly”. Maybe hereditary??
Anyone have thoughts on this. I am a 57 year old male in good shape. Need glasses now for distance and reading so ordered progressive. This Drusal has me concerned.
It sounds like your doctor is right, especially if the drusen are indeed away from the macula. Drusen are not always associated with macular degeneration. Make sure your doctor is aware of any persistant changes in your vision, including distortion.
All the best,
Thank you Doctor Wong. This is the first complete eye exam I have had in 7 years. The drusel has not been mentioned in the past so I believe it to be a recent occurance. Since both eyes and opposite side of macula, are there any other possible contributing factors aside from a family trait? I have had no issues with vision other than typical age related such as reading and distance now.
Many thanks, Richard
I was recently diagnosed with drusen in my left eye. I believe its unrelated to the macular since the doctor never mentioned anything about ARMD. After several tests my eye showed less sensitivity to light than my right eye and he prescribed some eye drops and anticoagulants to “theoretically prevent further damage” since he said there are no treatments available.I am very concerned given my young age (16).Any thoughts?
I would agree that there are no acceptable treatments for drusen, regardless of age. I would also agree that the drusen are probably not related to typical ARMD given your young age. I am curious what drops you were given and are you sure you were given “anticoagulants?”
Look forward to hear back from you.
My drops are “Dorzolamide HCI Ophthalmic Solution”, which if I remember correctly were to help lower my normally high eye pressure. He made me pick between Aspirin and another medicine (cant remember) for the blood thinners. He explained that this was a “theoretical treatment” and there was nothing else he could do. I hope my drusen wont cause further damage to my eye. Can drusen alone cause complete blindness over time if its in a bad location ?
Thanks for the reply.
I am curious if you have any damage at all. Drusen can be normal and not cause any damage to your vision.
Who prescribed your Trusopt? General eye doctor, retina specialist or your internist/pediatrician?
My drusen was originally discovered by a general eye doctor while I was having some normal tests for contact lenses. I was then referred to a specialist (who prescribed the meds) to be sure it wasn’t anything to worry about. I havent noticed any significant changes in vision but I guess I will know for sure on my next appointment.
I was diagnosed yesterday with Famial Drusen. I am only 36. The retna specialist said that there are numerous drusen in each eye. They performed numerous eye scans and then injected a dye to test the retna performance. Since my retna is working fine and with my glasses I see 20/20. I also see no spots or blurred vision. The dr said that there was little that can be done now. He prescribed a multivitamin for eye health with 6mg of Luetin. (which by the way says for people 50+ years) I have another appt in 6 months to chart the progress and see if any changes have occurred. I have trouble comprehending that there is no real treatment.
Q.Is there really no treatment for this?
Q. What is the likelihood that it will turn into full AMD and how soon?
In my opinion, familial drusen is normal. This explains why there is no treatment. The central portion of the retina, the macula, is perfectly normal as you said as was the angiogram (test involving dye injection).
Not all drusen are associated with disease. I am not aware that familial drusen causes or is associated with any other disease, even full AMD.
Sounds like you are fine. Regarding the vitamins, there is no evidence that Lutein is of any benefit to those with anything other than high-risk macular degeneration.
Hope this helped. Thanks for the questions.
My husband was just told (after 2 years of trying to figure out what was wron) that he has Macular Degeneration there are Drusens in both eyes in the pheriphal vision, he has blind spots in both eyes. He is only 36. We are having a hard time finding any research on this at his age. Are there any treatments, clinical studies and can this also happen to our kids at such a young age?
Any thoughts or where we can find out more on this will be very helpful. Thank you!
Not sure where you are located, but your husband needs to see a retina specialist. There is a difference between macular degeneration and macular dystrophies. Macular degeneration usually affects those older than 50-55, not 35. Macular dystrophies, however, can affect younger people.
A retinal specialist should help sort all of this out.
Best of luck,
I was diagnosed with soft macular drusen in both eyes last week and will be having an angiogram and an OCT this week. I am only 36 years old and quite concerned since the eye doctor told me this was very rare in young people. I have been researching on the internet and I’m getting scared as I read that the soft drusen are more likely to develop in ARMD. Is this true? Will I develop ARMD in the following years?
Thank you for your help!
I am not sure you have a lot to worry about. Your age and soft drusen are a bit atypical, but unusual. I am guessing that your vision is normal? My first impression is that you are not at high risk for developing ARMD, despite your drusen at your young age. This can be normal.
I look forward to hearing about your angiogram and your OCT. You may email me privately if you prefer.
Hang in there!
My son was diagnosed with familia drussen with macular degeneration showing in pictures taken when he was 20. At 25 he had the angiogram to confirm the diagnosis.My mother who is 85 has some macular degeneration but decent eyesight and excellent health. There is no history in my husband’s family or mine of blindness. My pictures show no signs of any macular degeneration. Is there any treatment for my daughter and what should I be doing? Should I alert my siblings and their children?
Wow. Lots going on.
Familial drusen – in my mind completely benign. Maybe, as your son ages, he should be seen periodically by a retinal specialist, but doubtful there will be any changes.
What might be your concern for your daughter? Doubt there is anything for you to worry about.
Most “macular degeneration” is not hereditary. I’d sit tight on warning your siblings. Try this link
There are some hereditary macular disorders that run in families, but not really true “macular degeneration.” Try this other article on macular dystrophies.
Hope I helped.
My daughter is six and a half. Drusen was noticed on her left eye. What would typically cause this to appear? She will be having a sedated ERG in a few weeks, but we are still concerned. What would cause drusun at such a young age?
You must be very worried.
My first question is thatvI want to make sure we are talking about drusen of the retina (very uncommon in kids) vs. Druseen of the optic nerve.
Stay well. let me know.
Hello Dr. Wong,
My son is 13 years old and was just diagnosed with familial drusen in both eyes. Not in the macula. No one in either side of the family has had serious vision issues. Given my sons young age, the doctor was surprised though and couldn’t really tell me much about what we can expect for the future. We did go to a good Retina Specialist in Ffx, probably someone you know! Anyway, I was concerned, but reading this it sounds like I shouldn’t be too concerned. I would like to know if I should be giving him supplements at all to help ensure he has no vision issues in the future? I bought Lutein, but now I wonder if I should really be giving that to him.
I have been experiencing an increase in the number of eye floaters i am seeing. I’ve been to the optometrist twice, and opthamologist once. Both gave me routing eye exams as well as a dilation exam. The opthamologist looked in more depth in comparison. Both told me that my eyes were perfectly healthy, and that unless the floaters were microscopic, they could not see them. My opthamologist took it a step further and added that he didn’t see anything that was a cause of concern for the near future… having said that, at the age of 23, I’m curious as to what other causes may result in this. I’ve also had blood work done and all came back negative. I’ll throw in there that i am not diabetic. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated as I am running out of theories. I am in good shape, work all the time, and I quit smoking cold turkey after 2 years of regular smoking. The onset has happened over time (1st ones began at 16) but seems to have increased over recent months. Thank you in advance.
iI was diagnosed with familial drusen, i am 40 years old i was told that it was inherited i’m really concerned i don’t know what to expect from this wikk it lead to blindness?
If you are indeed diagnosed with familial drusen, you should be fine, but I would recommend you stay close with your eye doctor. Familial drusen is usually benign.
I hope this was somewhat helpful.
Good Evening Dr. Wong,
I am a 47 year old white male, don’t smoke, healthy weight, good cholesterol numbers, and exercise regularly. I see my opthamologist annually. I was just diagnosed (for the first time) with a few very small drusen in both maculas – I’m assuming they were hard drusen. He also noticed very small cataracts (nuclear) in both eyes. I was NOT diagnosed with ARMD. My opthamologist gave me an Amsler grid and told me to look at it weekly and call him if I notice any problems. Given my previous “clean” annual exams, I was surprised. My vision is still quite good 20/20 and 20/25.
Generally, what is the likelihood is that I’ll develop ARMD and when?
Thanks for your time.
In my humble opinion, drusen can be normal for many people, and, are not correlated with the development of macular degeneration, especially if hard drusen.
I’d tend to believe that your are NOT at any greater risk for developing the disease. This issue is quite common and I thank you for sharing your concerns as there are many who have the same worries.
Stay in touch.
Thank you for your time and thoughts.
I wrote to you on Oct. 23rd about posterior vitreous detachment and tennis. Today I was told I could go back to playing. I also was told i have drusin in this eye. The retina is fine and she said come back in 1 year. I sthis something I should be concerned about. Can the condition turn into macular degeneration. I’m 58 years old. Does cholesterol affect this condition? This drusin looked like it was near the macula and then there was one away from it. Should I go to a specialist.
It is hard to say without an exam, but assuming your vision is perfect, you certainly don’t have any “degeneration” because you see well. On the other hand, there may be some subtle findings in the appearance of the retina that would help a doctor form a better opinion, that is, more likely ARMD or not.
Practical advice – get an annual exam, but make sure you see your doctor should you notice any distortion. In my experience, that is the most sensitive symptom to developing ARMD.
I hope this was helpful and not too confusing.
hi, i just turned 53, male in excellent shape. went to optamologist a month ago who said i have pigment changes in right eye and a couple small drusen. said i have ARMD. I then went to a retinal specialist for a 2nd opinion. he said he sees what dr. was talking about. asked if i ever had an eye injury. i didnt that i know of. asked if i ever used nasal sprays. said they have steriods that can cause pigment changes. i didnt use them.i did use anabolic steeroids when i was bodybuilding25 years ago. he said i have no drusen. nor does he think i have ARMD. he saw pigment changes and said i could have had them a long time. also showed me pics of parts of macula that were a little wavy. my vision is 20/ 20 but i do need reading glasses sometimes. now im confused. should i get another opinion? do i have ARMD? IM HORRIFIED since my mother lost her central vision at 75 from wet ARMD which was 18 years ago. do i have it?
Hard questions. In my opinion, you are a bit young to have the diagnosis of ARMD. If, on the other hand, you have decreased vision and pigmentary changes, then I’d be a bit more concerned.
Not too sure if we are over reacting to the steroid questions, meaning I wouldn’t pay too much attention to that. If the vision is good, regardless of etiology, then the only thing to do is to watch and wait.
As you stated, your vision is 20/20. The reading part is normal and you should need glasses. Regardless of diagnosis, just get check periodically and call your doctor if you note any sudden, persistent, decrease in vision including distortion.
Last. Just because your mother had ARMD, does not mean you will follow suit.
Hope this was somewhat helpful.
I am concerned about what I should be doing for my son. He is 7yrs old and has been diagnosed with soft macluar drusen. From what I have read, this is unusal for his age and I have not been able to find anything on what to do for him. His eye doctor says is right eye is already that of a 70 year old man’s eye. His eye doctor doesn’t seem to know what to do…they just keep watching it every 6 months. I don’t want to watch it getting worse every six months. I would like to do something about it now. Do you have any advise?
I am a little perplexed myself. Was your son evaluated by a retinal specialist? If not, that would be my first recommendation. Please let me know.
Dear Dr. Wong,
I had an eye exam yesterday (first time in 10 yrs.) and had photos taken of each eye. The doctor said my vision is 20/20, but I have drusen in both eyes (I am 41 yrs. old). I have no idea if anyone else in my family has this or not, but am checking. If it is not familial drusen, does this mean there is a higher chance I will develop macular degeneration? I am going back in two weeks to get drops in my eyes and my doctor will look at them again. I wish I had thought to ask what the drops reveal about the eyes as opposed to the photos? It was recommended I buy special vitamins for my eyes and sunglasses with polarized lenses, as well as eat lots of dark, leafy green vegetables. Is the presence of drusen at my age a bad sign that I could develop MD in the near future? I am now petrified at the thought of someday in the not too distant future not being able to see the faces of my children.
Rest assured I think you are in good shape. First, there is no evidence that drusen, at an early age of 41 years, is a precursor to macular degeneration.
I would recomment a dilated annual exam and a visit to a retinal specialist at some point. A fluorescein angiogram may be useful.
If you are accurate in your description, there is also no evidence that you need any vitamins as only those with moderate to high risk characteristics have any benefit, albeit small, to the vitamins. The vitamins, by the way, may decrease the amount of severe vision loss in certain patients.
I’d as a retina specialist his/her opinion.
Here’s to seeing your grandchildren!!
hi, dr WONG. hope you dont mind that i have another question. i called the retinal specialist that i saw a few weeks ago to find out exactly what his diagnosis was. i was only able to speak with one of the people who get the patient ready for the dr. they pulled my chart and said the diagnosis was RPE DISRUPTION. he said i dont have MD but im at a high risk of getting it. i asked if i had drusen and he said yes. now im really confused because optamologist who 1st diagnosed me with MD said i had a couple small drusen. retinal dr said i have no drusen but yet the person i spoke with said i do. how can this be so confusing? anyway my question is what is RPE DISRUPTION . he said its in the choroid layer. does this usually cause loss of vision and does it lead to MD? thank you so much for taking the time to help us all. BRIAN.
I am 41 years old. I went for a routine eye exam and the dr. noticed some drusens in both eyes. I went to see a retina specialist. I had the flurorecein angiogram and that dr. gave me a diagnosis of macular dystrophy. I do have some vision changes in my right eye. My left is still 20/20. He said it was probably a mutation in a gene. He said the prognosis was better than macular degeneration. When I asked him things I could do to make it better or worse he said that nothing will make it better. The things that will make it worse are smoking and high blood pressure. I am taking the eye vitamins. Is there anything else you could suggest to possibly slow down the progression? Have you had anyone with this diagnosis in your practice? What kind of prognosis am I looking at? Thanks. Carrie
Thanks for the comment. Macular dystrophies are basically inherited (hence the gene mutation) macular diseases, but are different that macular degeneration principally due to an inheritance pattern and the young age at which dystrophies are diagnosed.
To my knowledge, changing diet can NOT prevent either dystrophies nor macular degeneration (at least at this time, nothing has yet to be proven).
I am not aware that anything can slow down the progression of any of these diseases, but would think that your prognosis is excellent!
Stay in touch.
Is familial drusen the same as basal laminar drusen?
Not sure what you mean. Is the clinical significance the same? Familial drusen are the same in terms of appearance and location, but not associated with disease. I don’t use the term basal laminar drusen too often.
Sorry for such a non- answer.
Happy New Year!
Sorry for not being clear, Dr. Wong.
My retina doctor said I have basal laminar drusen. I can’t find anything when I search for these words.
Does basal laminar drusen go by any other name? This would help me in my searches.
Thanks so much!
Basal laminar drusen, I think, are just normal retinal drusen. It describes the layer(s) of the retina where the drusen normally occur, that is, at the basal lamina.
It is just over describing the same entity as drusen.
Drusen may be more of a “lay” term, whereas, basil laminar drusen may be more of a histologic term that used, apparently, by a few clinicians.
Thanks, Dr. Wong. As usual, you are the best! I wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year.
I have been told I have drusen in both maculas for about 15 years already and I am going to be 40 in a few weeks. My vision has not yet been affected from these deposits but the last time I saw my retina specialist he made the comment that I have many of them present in both eyes. The angiograms have never shown any change to my retinas, but I am so scared that the mere number as my dr states: “many drusen” in both maculas, scares me to death.
My paternal grandmother had macular degeneration late in life and my dad at age 65 began getting drusen, and he has been told that his drusen have actually decreased recently, he is almost 69 currently. I on the other hand have had them for so long already, and am frightened that vision loss is not too far away. Any advice besides to continue my eye vitamins, wear protective sunglasses and eat green leafy veggies? Also, I don’t smoke, though I did occasionally in my teens and twenties. Can you give me anymore advice? My retina specialist isn’t very friendly and helpful and I am so very afraid!!!!
Do you have any siblings and do they have drusen?
I hold fast to the fact that your FA is normal, and hence, you have no evidence of any degeneration. I think you are doing everything you can to be careful…getting regular examinations is the best for you at this time. At the very least, you can monitor any potential “progression” of any potential “disease.”
Every year that there is no change in vision or on fluorescein angiogram is good news.
Last…there is no proven benefit for you to take the eye vitamins, sunglasses or eating the leafy greens.
Maybe you should find a friendlier doctor who might talk to you a bit.
All the best.
I have been told that I have RPE disruption in my macula of my right eye. I am only 29 years old and was told that this is a risk factor for developing AMD. I am not sure what the significance of this rpe disruption is. I cannot find very much information on it. I have had a scan of my eye since the initial diagnosis and the area is getting smaller. Please shed some light on the significance of this.
I don’t have a lot of information about you, but I would hesitate to associate an RPE problem with the development of macular degeneration in the future. Many RPE problems are really poorly characterized only because we, retinal specialists, don’t have a great way to study and characterize them. While it is easy to diagnose and blame the problem on the RPE, it is different ball of wax to predict the future. We are better versed with diseases that have been well studied, such as macular degeneration.
Our inability to characterize a particular problem is reflected in the inability to give a specific name and hence, your difficulty in finding out much about your problem.
More specifically, is the vision getting better with the improvement of the OCT?
I am female 55 year old that is not stressed at all.
My father was diagnosed with AMD later in life (70). I was diagnosed by a doctor with wet AMD at age 53. I recieved 4 Avastin shots and it became dry. I did not like this doctor 3 hour wait and no bedside manner, soI took my records to our eye institute (Froedert) in Milwaukee. I had one of the best doctors tell me that I did not have AMD, but it was Central Serous Choroidretinopathy. ? He said that I had no drusen whatsoever. I guess this was a main reason for the new diagnosis. My question is do drusen have to be present in AMD? This new condition is not going away and I am afraid that I have not been diagnosed correctly. Any advice?
Dear Ms. Mills,
I am not persuaded that the second doctor you saw was really helpful. Sure, it is possible to have Central Serous Retinopathy, but for the initial diagnosis at age 55 is unusual. Usually CSR is diagnosed at any earlier age…but it could happen.
Drusen do NOT have to be present for either the diagnosis of AMD, nor for the development of the “wet” form of macular degeneration (AMD).
Proceed cautiously with this new guy.
Stay in touch.
Thanks for your response. I had a multi-spectral imaging scan and an OCT test. I haven’t had any changes in my vision at all. So, the second scan showed that the area is getting smaller with no changes in my vision. I have been followed by my optometrist, should I ask to see a retina specialist? I was told that I had RPE disruption and I was asked to be involved in a case study for this new multi-spectral imaging machine. Does this RPE disruption go away completely or is it something that can remain permanently without affecting your vision?
Greetings and thank you for your wonderful website. I received the shock of my life last Friday, when, in a routine eye exam, my optometrist saw a few soft drusen in each eye. I am only 43, have brown eyes and don’t believe there is a history of macular degeneration in my family. I visited an opthamologist who said this may just be an anomoly and that it is even possible I have had the drusen for a long time. He would like to see me every six months to monitor the drusen. My question is, in your experience with people who have soft drusen but are asymptomatic, do you find that most progress to AMD? Is it likely that I will remain symptomatic? Or will MD probably be a part of my future? Thank you.
Tough question, but I don’t think that soft drusen at your age necessarily means you have macular degeneration. None of us have a crystal ball, but I agree with the recommendation of regular visits. I might suggest a fluorescein angiogram every once in a while, it can detect a bit more than just an examination. You’d have to see an retina specialist for the fluorescein.
Stay well and try not to worry….too much,
Many thanks for you response. I had an OCT scan. Is the FA better? My soft drusen are below 63 microns, though one eye does have multiple. Is that considered Stage 1 in AREDS?
I would consider it less than “intermediate.”
Thank you, Dr. Wong.
I also had the same shock as Karen. I am 44 years old and had an eye appt. this week and my eye doctor told me that I had several hard drusen in both eyes and 3 soft drusen as well in left eye. I was told to be concerned but not to worry – although the doctor felt this may be early ARMD. How do I not panic and worry? I met one of the risk factors – blue eyes. Otherwise I am in good health, good blood pressure, low cholesterol, non-smoker, not in my family and not of Scandinavian descent. I was told that I may deal with significant visual issues in 10-15 years. Currently my vision is 20/15 in both eyes with glasses. I do not seem to have any visual issues. However, now that I have been told that I may deal with significant visual loss in a decade I am feeling impending doom. Is there any hope that these drusen will not continue to grow?
There is no evidence, from what you told me, that you have anything other than drusen. This is not a precursor to macular degeneration.
No one can tell you if you will develop the disease.
Thank you Dr. Wong. My eye doctor told me that ‘if he was a betting man he would bet that I would be dealing with macular degeneration in 10-15 years’ since I have these drusen in my eyes. At this point I am going to enjoy my good eyesight, have regular eye exams (most likely will see a retinal specialist for my next exam), maintain a healthy lifestyle and worry as minimally as I am able. Any other advice for me? Any suggestions are very much appreciated.
my wife who is 49 years of age was diagnosed with soft drusen in both eyes 2 years ago her vision is still very good with glasses on. she uses a amsler grid every couple of days and sees her optometrist every 6 months (thankfully no change yet). i see on your website that drusen alone are not diagnostic of the disease . Can you tell me why he has diagnosed her with this and is it possible she will have her sight for many years yet or am i asking for to much.
It’s difficult to understand why some doctors prefer to diagnose their patients with the worst possible diagnosis. Somehow they feel more comfortable. Without demonstrable vision loss, I don’t see the benefit of scaring the patient and their family.
Having said this….it is possible that someday she develops macular degeneration. I would simply get an annual exam. For each “normal” year, the diagnosis becomes less likely.
She should call her doctor if she notices and persistent changes in vision, including distortion.
Earlier this week I had my annual eye exam. Actually, I was seen several times last summer because of vision issues- so it has been less than a year. At that time, that doctor was not able to find any reason for it. He said that everything was clear in my eyes so he wanted me to see a specialist. I was not able to go because I left the country for 6 months. I’m young, 23 years old, so I just went thinking that things would be fine and just see another doctor after coming back. Well, during my eye exam, there were points where it was getting really hard to get the letters to focus. It was like it was just slowly fading to a blackish blob, which made me feel very frustrated. I let him know that I couldn’t see it anymore like I could when I initially took a look at it. Anyways, he looked into my eyes using a light and microscope. He said something to the assistant and he told me that he wanted me to get another test so that he could show me what he sees in my right eye. It was a drusen. He pointed out this yellow dot with different pigment coming out of it and that’s what he called it. Anyways, my other eye has the pigmentation but not the drusen yet (that can be seen). I will be getting an OCT next week. I want to know what’s going to happen. Do you have any ideas on what could be happening with me?
First, you may be fine. I’d wait for the results and also enquire if you will be getting a fluorescein angiogram. If not, ask if you can be referred to a retinal specialist to have one performed. My guess is that you have yet to see a retinal specialist who may be able to give you a more definitive answer.
P.S. I had very bad vision my entire life. No one knew about this until my family moved when I was 3 and I was running into walls. They determined that I was born half blind. At some point I made some improvement that wasn’t predicted. There hasn’t been any doctors that found anything other than my last exam.
Other facts about me: I do not have any relatives with any eye problems like me. Actually, no one on either side of my family even has vision problems at all so it was confusing for my family that I was born this way.
Other health info: I do not smoke or drink. I am petite (almost underweight). I eat healthy due to other medical issues that prevent me from being able to eat gluten, etc…
Please let me know what you think. I’d like to get some ideas prior to my OCT next week.
Do you have the “drusen” or whatever they found in both eyes? Based on your history, you may just have one eye that is affected, you were born with it and you may have a completely normal fellow eye.
Right now he was only able to see a visible drusen in my right eye. Although he said he was curious in what’s happening in my left eye too since it is mimicking the pigmentation that is around my obvious drusen in my right eye. He does not know how long it has been there and said maybe he’d be able to guess after he sees the OCT. He didn’t say much about this, but that he was just concerned that it’s looking more like an eye of 65+ year old than a 23 year old.
I don’t know what will happen after my OCT but I think my doctor is just taking things a step at a time. I imagine he’ll tell me the next plans after he sees the image.
It is odd that the drusen is in the eye that is actually in a better condition when it comes to vision. There isn’t much difference in my eyes but even a little difference seems to make them different for me and the way that I use them. It’s kind of hard for me to use them together so sometimes I focus on something with emphasis in using just one eye. Maybe after I get my new prescription glasses and contacts to come in that’ll be better.
I went in for a routine eye exam and had pictures of my eyes taken, the doctor had fornd some drusen. I went and got a second opinion and the doctor told me that i have an exceptional amount of soft drusen in both eyes. She told me that my macula was clear of any drusen. Her diagnosis for now was that i have soft drusen. She told me that I could have had these all my life, seeing as how there was so much, and i am only 32 years old. I am currently taking vitamins made by bausch & lomb(areds2). I dont really know anything else about what is going to happen with my eyes. If I was born with the drusen can it be possible that my eyes will stay the way they are now? My eyesight is 20/20 and is not affected by this. Is there any procedure that can be done to clear any of the drusen.
I think it is quite likely that you may remain “normal.” It is impossible to tell, but as long as your macula remains free of drusen you should have an excellent prognosis.
in my opinion, people with drusen outside the macula usually don’t get drusen involving the macula. The two are not necessarily linked and I would not worry about disease at this time since your macula is drusen free.
There are no procedures that can prevent macular drusen.
Hang in there! You are in good shape.
good afternoon Dr.
My husband was recently dx with Drusen’s and his vison loss is periphial and effects him with bright light or night driving. The vision loss came on suddenly and it has taken us nearly 3 months to dx. In studying the disease the vision loss is predominatly in the center of the eye. Is there history of the vison loss on the periphial field. My husband is 61 has a history of taking amiarodione during an event where he had a-fib, we were told it apparently is a trigger onset of the disease.. Your response will be greatly appreciated. Thank you Jamie
Your description of your husband’s symptoms and the diagnosis do not make sense to me. Perhaps he needs to get another opinion or have someone explain things to you differently. Drusen, as you stated, usually on affect the central vision, not peripheral. I’d be worried something else is going on. Perhaps cataracts?
My daughter is 34 years old and has recently been diagnosed with familial drusen. This was found out at a routine eye exam. the drusen is dry and is on her macula and she has a tiny bit of distortion. She has seen a retinal specialist who has said that the problem could take decades before it really affects her vision. She presently has 20/20 vision with her glasses. She has really been traumatized by this diagnosis. Is it true that it could be decades before the disease progresses and is there a chance that if could remain the same and not deteriorate. She has had no genetic testing, so the diagnosis is most likely an educated guess because of her age. Have you had the experience of seeing a young woman like my daugther have this problem and it not getting worse? Thank you .
Yes, I have seen many similar to your daughter. I am not sure that genetic testing will give us any further information as not all macular diseases have been mapped.
Look at it this way, there is no present acceptable treatment nor prevention.
Make sure she gets regular exams. My bet is that she’ll see well.
Thank you for your response. Have you seen many young adults move forward into older adulthood without losing a significant amount of eyesight? That is all we are hoping for at this point.
Hi Dr. Wong,
I am 31 years old and have had drusen in both eyes for at least 10 years (it was first detected when I was 21). My eye doctor told me that the drusen is stable, but it is macular and soft. So far, my vision is 20/15 and has not been affected. When I saw my eye doctor yesterday for my annual exam, she said I have “familial drusen,” which was the first time I’d heard this term. No one else in my family has been diagnosed with this condition. I know there’s no way to predict if this will develop into macular degeneration, but I was wondering if my risks are greatly increased. Also, if it did develop into macular degeneration, would I begin to suffer vision impairment before age 50? My doctor said to just be watchful for any changes in my vision, but should I be doing more, like asking to have the fluorescein angiogram? Would that be of any benefit at this point? Thanks so much for any information you can provide.
Familial drusen is a common term used to describe drusen outside of the macula and to connote that these drusen are not to be confused with drusen which cause macular degeneration.
To be safe, a fluorescein angiogram should demonstrate a very healthy macula!
I am a 28 year old male with familial drusen to the ouside (opposite optic nerve) side of my macula (not close to fovea) in both eyes since i was 12. 2 years ago, i had very mild eye inflammation which resulted in cnv 3 months after the inflammation (and blurred optic disc head). Flouroscene angiography did not reveal this spot until months later when things started warping around it. Avastin injection stopped it in its tracks and reduced the warping. Now 2 years later, i have new cnv spot in the other eye- no inflammation, and we were able to stop it with avastin. It is also worth noting that flouroscene angiography did not show this spot. Both cases have occured 4 months during a period of intense stress and anxiety. (new parent for first one, new project at work in which im lead developer for second one). I have 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in other eye still. Have you heard of amything similar? All of my doctors are puzzled and saying its bad luck at this point.
I am I correct in understanding that you had CNV that was NOT showing up on a fluorescein angiogram?
I wonder if your diagnosis includes either central serous retinopathy (CSR) or histoplasmosis? Something seems amiss.
I have, to answer your question, used Avastin in the above to scenarios in addition to straightforward CNV due to either ARMD or idiopathic causes.
I think I just made everything more confusing.
That is correct. I currently have CNV not showing up on fluorescein angiogram. When my original blind spot (left eye) developed – after the mild inflammation, I told my doctor about it, but they also could not see it — until it started warping objects, at which point it showed up on the fluorescein angiogram. This second blind spot (right eye) has not shown up yet,but based on my history, my doctor felt comfortable recommending the injection. The OCT scans of both eyes appear completely normal – left and right eye – scar and no scar. The only additional factor is familial drusen on the outer edge of my macula in both eyes.
Would histoplasmosis stay in someone’s system and activate during periods of stress or when they have a weakened immune system? I had an lung condition (inflammation) develop about 10 years ago that required steroids to treat before it went away – my airway would constrict spontaneously during my sleep and airways were inflamed.
To clarify, the blind spot currently that does not show up on fluorescein angiogram will develop into CNV, but it might not be CNV at this time. In addition, I do not have any histo spots. All OCT looks good and fluorescein angiograms look good (minus again, the familial drusen to the edge of my macula). Vision 20/20 and 20/15 with blind spots that develop. No blind spots over the fovea. Can OHS develop with the absence of histo spots?
Never heard of OHS without histo spots.
Another diagnosis might be idiopathic CNV, but the drusen is confusing.
I was in a car accident in 2004 and after this, during a regular check-up where they use a Snellen chart I felt there was something ‘off’ in my vision in my right eye. It had been many years since using this chart so not sure if it was there before the accident. I was 33 at the time. I had also been covering my eye with my hand so thought that may be the reason. This happpened again a few years later. I had been having vertigo and found that I had a small amount of vestibular damage but after a number of years when it did not subside completely I went for a second opinion and they suggested seeing an ophthamologist just to make sure. I had a field vision test which was 100% normal and also had a regular eye exam, which of course showed me the strange vision. I tried to explain, but the optometrist thought I was explaining blurring. It looked the same as before. When I went to see the ophthamologist, he gave me the FV test results as normal and looked in my eyes. He then mentioned that I had some ‘spots’ in my eyes that could be early AMD except due to my age at the time (37) and low risk factors then he wouldn’t worry. I went home and tried to figure out what was up with my vision and I realised I had minimal distorted vision mostly in my right eye. It is a very sharp ‘heartbeat’ sign very close to the centre and then a slight curve to the left and below central vision, and a little curve in the opposite direction in my left eye. Of course, this said AMD so I panicked so they were kind enough to rush me in to the retinal specialist. They took photos of my macular and also use an extremely bright light that was actually painful (it was a vertical light) that she slowly moved across each retina as she looked through a lens. She never mentioned drusen or ‘spots’ and said that my retina was 100% healthy and that whatever was causing my distortion was not my retina. I continued to check the AG and there did not seem to be a change, although for a while when my eyes were strained it did look worse. Also, i notice that another line may be slightly distorted to the right and below. I have been using an excel file a lot too. My eyes were strained and I stretched the muscles of my eyes and it felt that they pulled as I did it, the next day I could see a little distortion with both eyes open from that point. I also checked and it seemed my left eye has more distortion. The weird thing is that the distortion seems the exact opposite as that of my right eye, minus the very sharp distorted area. Firstly, would a retina specialist tell me I am fine if they had any doubts (they think it may have been an optic nerve problem but I haven’t had this checked out and I don’t have health insurance anymore at this time). Could it be too small an area to be detectable? I am very scared. I am now 40 and rely on my vision for my career and still hope to have children. My father also noticed some distortion and was told he had AMD. He is 79. I have never smoked but used to eat a VERY poor diet and have high cholesterol. I eat VERY healthy now, I take Vision vitamins and eat walnuts/flax every day and have just started fish oil supplements.
I cannot go to a doctor at this time. Also my vision in my right eye became blurred after I was using the computer for hours on end, but if I hold something about 12 inches from my eye there is very little if any blurriness so it seems to be a focus issue. Could something else really be causing the distortion? Thank you.
You have a lot going on.
I don’t think a retina specialist would tell you that you were normal if he/she felt otherwise. There is no reason.
If your exam is “normal,” yet you still have some strange symptoms….ask your doctor if you have some, ever so slight, signs of amblyopia. Often, people with mild weakness experience some non-descript symptoms due to this inherent/mild weakness. Obviously, I can’t tell from here, but it is a suggestion and might explain your difficulty in finding a satisfactory answer for you.
If the symptoms are worsening….see your doctor.
The focus issue may be early presbyopia (usually starts around age 40).
Also, my apologies if my question seems a little garbled. It is such a long story. Basically, if I had had even minor distortion for at least 5 years, would they see what was causing it if it had anything to do with my macular? Thank you.
Yes, they should, especially if a fluoresein angiogram were performed.
They did not inject me with anything so I do not think it was a f.a. It was just an uncomfortable bright light that was elongated and they scanned slowly as she was looking through. I seem to vaguely remember that she had a readout though but it was a few years back. But I assume that even if they had seen drusen in my macular then they would have wanted to perform tests to ensure that everything was fine. I have been having health anxiety over this, once reason why I ended up being preoccupied with other doctors and not pursuing this further. Then I was away for 18 months. The distortion in my left eye got worse after a lot of computer use. Is it possible that with a lot of eye use, especially using excel with fine very small boxes, that my brain could have adjusted what my right eye sees to try to compensate the distortion in my right eye (like the experiment where people wear glasses that turn images upside down and the brain corrects it after a few days). Just a thought, although I understand that there is no way that you can know this without examining me. Also, could astigmatism cause distortion without blurring. There is an online test where there are four squares with thick lines going vertically in each direction and then vertical and horizontal. The vertical lines going one way look greyer with my right eye. I am sorry if I am asking you questions that you may not be able to answer without examination. I am also worried that as I don’t have health insurance, if i go to a regular ophthamologist they may see what the first one did and I will get into a panic without being able to see a retinal specialist again immediately.
Sorry I meant that my brain could adjust what my left eye sees to oppose my right eye’s distortion.
I am 38 years old and was told the optomerist noticed some signs of Macular Degeneration after being told I have 20/20 vision in both eyes….He did not say anything beyond that. He didn’t refer me to an optomologist or retina specialist, he told me to come back for another eye exam in a year to a year and half. Should the referral have taken place? Please advice. Thank you in advance.
I would be remiss in ever not recommending a visit with the specialist to quell any anxiety. On the other hand, if you have drusen, anyone would recommend regular visits…as you’ve been doing. From a practical point of view, I am not sure if there is any different treatment plan other than just “watching.”
For peace of mind….see a retina specialist and get his/her opinion.
I am 51. One year ago my ophthomologist said he saw two drusen in my right macula. I have had no visual changes to date (except needing glasses to read in the past 5-7 years). I just saw him again and he says the two drusen are unchanged. No drusen in left eye or elsewhere. What are the chances this will develop into MD? And should I be taking ICaps vitamins (he recommended this last year). Thanks.
You should be monitored yearly, but it’s too early to tell if you’ll develop ARMD. For now, the drusen can be normal and I don’t feel they are necessarily related to ARMD. ICAPS vitamins are only indicated for those at medium to high risk. From what you describe, that doesn’t sound like you.
I was told I has a single drusen in my left eye last year. Last week at my exam I was told that now I have several in my left eye and a few in my right. I am 58, non-smoker, my father (86) has wet AMD-legally blind since he was 68, and my mom has dry. I have no symptoms yet in my vision. Is this a “normal” speed for this to be progressing or am I on a fast track?
I am not aware of a “rate” at which ARMD develops. Drusen may change in number and location, but I don’t think this correlates with stage or severity of disease. Even though your father has wet AMD, it does not mean that you’ll be getting it.
There is no real way for you to keep track other than regular exams.
Best of luck,
I am 37 and have always had healthy eyes. I just had my eyes dilated for the first time during an exam and the optomologist found a few small white spots (drusen) which is said is not on my retina but over it (whatever that means). It was only found in my left eye. He said this is not serious and would like to see me again in one year. Of course, I am feaking out. How does this sound to you? Since it’s not on the retina, is this familal? I wish he would have been more descriptive with me. I know that he definitely said it’s not on my retina.
The white spots are either in your retina or in your optic nerve. There are drusen of the “optic nerve.”
I wonder if this is you?
I am 57 years old and have drusions in both eyes and have had them since I was a child. I have small blind spots in both eyes that my Dr. has monitored for the last 16 years. With glasses my vision has been 20/20. Looking at the chart while getting my exams I see very clearly because of good light and sharp contrasts but I really seem to struggle in lower light conditions. My Dr. says that is due to not being able to take in enough light. Over the last 6 months I have noticed some radical changes in how I have been able to see and recently while inspecting the lens on my glasses I noticed my left eye is extremely blurry. My right eye seems fine but sometimes it takes some extra effort to focus in at what I am looking at before it become clear. I have an appointment next week to have my eyes checked but can you give me any insight as to what would be good questions for my Dr. and could my issues be turning into macular degeneration. I read that ARMD usually affects both eyes. Any insight would be helpful.
Wondering if you had your eye exam yet. First thing I am thinking about is that you should be checked for cataracts. Please let me know.
Hi Docto Wong,
Thank you for your note. My doctor never mentioned either thing you suggested. He just said I have “white spots but they are not on my retina and it’s nothing serious.” He said the only rare thing that could happen is they can pull and cause my retina to tear and in that case, he’d have to laser the tears. Does that sound accurate to you? I genuinelly appreicate you taking the time to read this. I am very concerned.
I wonder if you have lattice degeneration? This can be a normal finding, but at times may lead to retinal tears/holes which may need to be treated with laser.
Hi Dr. Wong,
I recently visited an ophthalmologist because I have had bad vision my entire life, correctable with refraction to 20/50 and 20/40 at best (I had already been diagnosed with amblyopia in my left eye which they attempted to correct at a young age with a patch on the right). The doctor ran an extensive battery of tests and found nothing, he was truly confused. He sent me to a retina specialist, who put me through even more tests, and also could not find out why my vision was so poor. He did find drusen on both my eyes (not sure which kind, but he showed them to me and they were small, sharp white dots, middle of the retina I believe). He told me the drusen were unusual because I’m only 23, but they were not the culprit of my bad vision. His ultimate diagnosis was bilateral amblyopia, with one eye lazier than the other. He said this was extremely rare. Apparently we did every test possible except an ERG, which he didn’t have in house and assumed would not prove useful regardless.
So my questions are: a) do you think it could possibly be something other than bilateral amblyopia, possibly related to the drusen? b) should I think about possibly doing the ERG and what could that tell me? and c) do you think vision will change over time or remain pretty stagnant? could I be looking at early macular degeneration?
Did you ever have better vision than 20/40 or 20/50?
Have you noticed a change in your vision?
The ERG is a good idea. It will help establish a diagnosis.
I went for a check up at the eye Doctor, They Dilated my eyes and the said you have Drusen, you are gona be blind before you are 50, I said really why I am already 49, So Im gona be blind next year? She said come back in 6 months. I have been stressed. Should I get a second opion? What kind of eye doctor should I go to? Im really scared, My vision is fine.
I would get a second opinion from a retina specialist. A fluorescein angiogram might provide you with some great information about your long term prognosis.
I am 55 years old, scandinavian man with blue eyes. I have not heard about macular degeneration in my family tree. I don’t smoke, blood pressure is ok, Cholestrol is slightly on the bad side. Drusen was mentioned the first time during an eye exam about 10 years ago. My eyes have been checked every 2 years and there is no bad changes. I use sildenafil products (Viagra etc). I have heard about the risks with these medicals and macular degeneration. Is there any real proof that these medicals might raise the risk to get AMD if you already have drusen? Or can these medicals be the reason that I have drusen?
I don’t believe the two to be related.
hi, iam 30 years old.i used to have near sighted vision since the end of primary school but i had laszik surgery 6 years ago and then i had strain in eyes started 2 years ago and i had eye glasses for reading and computer with +1changes in my eyes and astigmatism .1 year later i started to have another strain in eyes and another eye glasses descripied with a tiny difference. iam now pregnant for the first time after 2 miscaraiges and i started to have headaches so i had a vision exam, the optometrist said there is tiny difference and i don’t have to change eye glasses but he realized 2drusens adherent to my macula in left eye and one drusen away from my macula in right eye. then the retinal specialist said i may have macular degeneration (i don’t have a family history).what are the chances that i have macular degeneration? and if yes after how many years iam expected to suffer from vision problems? a should i have the flourescen angiogram now or should i wait for another 6 months as my doctor said?
If you are not having any problems with your vision, then consider waiting. If you are having decreased vision, including distortion, re-visit your eye doctor.
Hi Dr. Wong,
I am 27 years old and just went to the eye doctor yesterday. When my eyes were dialated the doc saw a few white spots and then advised that a picture be taken. My left eye had 2 white dots in my macula. I had no idea what this meant and the doc said it was very rare to see those in someone my age. I have bad vision -6 in each eye. He said we would just take a picture next year and monitor it. I asked him what that was called and he just said spots on my macula. He did not diagnose me but just said that I was very young to show those spots. I have never had the symptoms he asked me about. I then got home and told my husband and he told me about the disease “macular degeneration” and I googled it and started freaking out. Do you think I should get a second opinion or just monitor it? Also, is there a possibility that there is nothing to worry about?
I would absolutely not freak out. Get monitored if worried. Get examined if you notice any decrease in vision including distortion.
I have been concerned about AMD. I am 36 non smoker, in good health, no family history of amd , have retinal drusen not sure hard or soft have a dot and some shadows in my vision of my left eye. Currently my vision is fine 20/20. Do I need to be stressing my self out so much? Any info is appreciated.
Not sure I’d be concerned if you don’t have any symptoms of decreased, blurry or distorted vision.
I think I’ll write another post on this today!!!
[…] are the most confusing and also the most worrisome. Drusen in the macula can be NORMAL and do NOT necessarily mean you have or will develop macular […]
Thank u for your advise, i went to the eye doctor in the first place because i realized eye strain and headache when i watch tv but the optometrist told me not to change my reading glasses and after a week i called him because headache and strain didnot disappear so he said i may need a distant glasses.do u think that i should go to the retinal specialist again? do u think that my history has a risk factor for the disease? plz answer me
I was just diagnosed with optic nerve drusen. My Mother has macular degeneration since the 80s . She is 93 and now legally blind. Is this going to happen to me? I am 55 and never smoked my weight is up and down. Generally in good health. I went for a routine eye exam as I was having more headaches and it had been 3 years since new lenses. Only started wearing glasses in mid 40’s. I was sent to Vanderbuilt to see a neuro opthamologist. I feel the diagnosis is right but still have many questions and what is the rate at which drusen grows or whatever it does. I see blind spots, have some nausea and balance issues. Is this related? I am really concerned. Single and self employed. Should I be checking on disability?
Dear Mary Jo,
Optic nerve drusen are not related to drusen of the macula nor are they related to macular degeneration.
While patients can lose vision with optic nerve drusen, I wouldn’t feel you need to check on disability. Stick with a neuro-ophthalmologist or someone who can monitor you.
Hi Dr Wong
I have never posted on a blog but hope you can put my mind at rest a little. I have just been for an eye test and the optician noticed some bumps on my macular in the right eye. She said this was quite unusual at my age, I am 34 years old and has made a referral to the hospital. My eye sight has changed from 1.25 to 2.00 in my left eye and remained the same on the right. I don’t smoke and have a reasonable diet. She did the Amsler test and there was no distortion. I’m really worried, do you think there is a chance it could be normal Drusen? Thank you!
The change in your prescription means nothing. I expect you see well with your lenses, despite the change in prescription?
For peace of mind, see a retina specialist….a fluorescein angiogram should provide a lot of information. While certainly you may drusen (and they are probably normal), a retina specialist can confirm this for you.
Let us know.
Hi Dr Wong
Just a quick note to say thanks for your response, it is a very kind thing to do and your site must benefit many. I will let you know the outcome.
You are welcome, and thank you, too, for contributing.
I visited an optometrist roughly 2 months ago to get a new prescription for glasses. I have not had a new glasses prescription in almost 8 years but see a doctor for contact lenses almost 1-2 times a year. When I visited this optometrist, he dilated my pupils and examined my eyes and afterward asked me if “I had any trauma to my right eye?” I could not remember any trauma happening recently and he had me look at the Amsler Grid test and asked me if any lines looked different; nothing seemed odd to me. He said that I was showing signs of macular degeneration; I am only 24 years old with no family history of the disease. I look at the Amsler Grid test frequently and about 99% of the test looks normal for me with the exception of one line in one box looks distorted. What should I be expecting? Is there anyway this could be misdiagnosed as something different? If so, what kind of eye problem could this be?
Dear Patrick L,
No telling what he saw or why he said what he did.
I’d get peace of mind and seek a second opinion. Of course, I’d recommend a retinal specialist.
I already have a scheduled appointment and am going to see an ophthalmologist tomorrow morning. I do not have any decreased vision and haven’t changed my prescription for almost 6-7 years. The reason I began freaking myself out recently was because I was thinking about how he asked me if I had ‘trauma’ to my eye and thinking maybe he saw ‘bleeding’ on my retina. He said nothing about my other eye which seems to be fine. Thinking back, I believe that a small shard of steel may have hit my eye a couple years ago; do you think that could have anything to do with it?
In any event, I do appreciate any insight you can give and also appreciate this blog in general. If more doctors were as accommodating, people would spend much less time worrying while they are waiting to get an appointment.
I will let you know what they say and thanks again.
After getting back from the ophthalmologist, I thought that I would give an update to give others who read this comfort as well as letting you know what was the conclusions, Dr. Randy.
After examining the supposed eye show symptoms of macular degeneration, the doctor was quick to say that I do not show signs of macular degeneration and that the optometrist was in fact wrong. She did offer a conclusion as to why the optometrist said that he might have said that though: I had an infection in my right eye at some point which left retinal scarring near the macula and remnants of the infection around retina. The doctor said this would explain seeing possible curved or wavy lines when looking at the Amsler Grid test.
Anyway, I wanted to let you know because I believe this is excellent forum in order to ease persons minds when considering certain types of diseases. From this semi-serious experience, I walked away with 3 very important pieces of information: take care of your vision, never trust optometrists, and always get a second opinion.
I am a 32 year old female i went for a eye test as i had noticed my eye sight had got worse and bright lights hurt my eye’s when driving in the dark. My optition said he had found large drusan deposites in my left eye which was very unusual for a girl my age, he refered me to my doctors for blood test then on to the opthamologist who diagnosed me with Macular degeneration and discharged me with an grid to check on a daily basis, no other informaiton whatsoever other than if parts of the grid go missing please come back as soon as possible. Do you think i need to get a second opinion as this is really worrying me.
I would certainly get the opinion of a retinal specialist.
He also said that this was passed onto me through genes?
The drusen may be normal for you, hence the recommendation about seeing a retinal specialist. Not too sure what he meant about the genes: the drusen or the possible AMD?
Hi Dr Wong
I said I would come back to you once I went to the ophthalmologist. I don’t have macular degeneration and instead there are two scars caused by a virus at some point. He said I don’t need to be overly concerned and he doesn’t think they will change. I guess I just wanted to thank you for putting my mind ar rest during the wait and to hopefully let others know who may be experiencing something similar. Dr Wong is now famous in Northern Ireland as I have been telling people how great your site is 🙂
Glad things worked out!
Thanks for the Irish support!
what is the significance of macular drusen in a young female of age 21 years?
Probably none at all, especially if no decrease in vision or distortion.
I mailed you early in May but have the report back from the hospital (i am still awaiting a second opinion) what the doctors says is “The retina drusen involve the macula area and extend into the nasal retina above the superior quadrant in the left eye. These are signes of famillal hereditary drusen rather than age related changes.” I am 32 years old and have no one in the family who suffered with AMD or drusen in the macula. I know I am still waiting for my second opinion but am not beeing seen while July and am still very much worried about this. I have photos of my eyes which I could mail to you for your opinion if this helps. Just wanting some reasurance.
Thanks in advance.
I am sorry, but I really can’t review your photos. It would be like half an exam and I’m trying to limit my liability as much as I can.
Ask to have a fluorescein angiogram performed if there is any question about the health of the retina.
my name is Ellen 2 days ago I went to the ophthalmologist for an exam involving my right eye it was diagnosed as a c r v o during the exam the doctor found 2drusen he never told me if it was macular degeneration all he said was it could be northern european family history being confused the next day I called his office and spoke with his nurse she told me that I had a mild case of macular degeneration does this mean I will lose my site she was the 1 that told me that he did not do I need to be concerned I am very upset thank you
Just the presence of drusen does NOT make the diagnosis of macular degeneration. Your biggest problem is the sight threatening CRVO.
thank you doctor wong. when I spoke with my doctor the other day he told me that my vision has improved in the eye with the crvo no signs of glaucoma can glaucoma come later on even if you have good results I am 45 years old doctor said I’m too young for this is this true or is this considered the average age to have a c r v o could this possibly have started from a steroid at the time of the hemorrhage I was on steroids for an illness thank you again doctor wong this is been helpful to me
but what if the macular drusens in a young girl of 21 are associated with flashes of light and bilateral abnormal foveal reflex as some doctor has told my friend.
thanks in advance
Makes me think of a macular dystrophy. She’ll need evaluation by a retinal specialist and possible electrophysiologic testing (ERG/EOG) to find out for sure!
I saw optometrist 6 weeks ago who diagnosed me with dry macular degeration at 51. He has told me little other than minimal rpe changes. I have asked for more detail which his office emailed and told me it is not available at this time. I did the php test which I passed with flying colors. I dont have any current vision problems that arent corrected with my glasses. Any thoughts?
If I were you, I’d want a fluorescein angiogram. The PHP just means you don’t have any symptoms of ARMD, but a FA might tell you if there is any early degeneration….you mightn’t even have to worry.
Thank you for your reponse. Do RPE changes always indicate Macular degeneration? Can it be diagnosed without a dialated eye exam? I appreciate the time you take to answers these questions.
No not always. Lots of diseases or problems can cause RPE changes.
It can NOT be diagnosed without a dilated eye exam.
I was in my 30s when the doc found numerous drusen in my eyes. I had temporary trouble seeing in one eye and not having insurance and not believing in hand outs, I couldn’t afford to go back. My vision improved and so it wasn’t a priority. Then in my early 50s, I was working in a private school without insurance again, and I was looking at some miniblinds and they were wavy. So I knew something wasn’t right. I later started seeing ghosting, that is seeing a faint line near a dark line. So I saved up some money to go to a retina specialist a couple years ago and I had the fluorescence test and this test and the office visit was very expensive. All I was told was that there are drusen and the retina is not smooth. I don’t know what that means. Then they wanted to repeat the test in several months.
Since the retina specialist did nothing to help me see better, I did not scrape together the money to go back. Now I am in my mid-fifties and the ghosting is very bad. Lines are very wavy. I went to walmart to get my glasses (I am farsighted) and the doc there said that it looked like I had macular degeneration and she referred me to another retina speciaist which I probably cannot afford.
I am now worried but confused because I have had the drusen a long time. They first appeared in my 30s but I see wavy lines and ghosting. If I go back will it just cost me a lot of money for nothing, or can the wavy lines and ghosting be fixed somehow?
Unfortunately, it is impossible for me to tell you exactly what’s causing your ghosting and distortion as I can’t examine you.
Medical treatment and testing can indeed be expensive, but how does it compare to the cost of losing your sight?
I would recommend a thorough examination, probably by a retinal specialists, so that you know exactly what is wrong and you can make informed decisions about your own care. If not, you are just speculating.
All the best,
Last summer I was told I has some mottling in both eyes in the RPE. I went to the retina specialist and he did a fleurescin angiogram. He said due to the similar pattern in both eyes, it looked indicative of Stargardt’s Disease. I wear contacts which corrects my vision to 20/20. Is it possible to have a pattern like mottling in the RPE and it NOT be Stargardt’s? I am turning 30 in October.
Yes. Possible that you don’t have Stargardt’s.
The most definitive tests: ERG and EOG. Unfortunately, not readily available or easy to find…at least in the DC area.
I was diagnosed with Retinal Drusen about a year ago from military doctors. I was referred to an off base optometrist for a second opinion. The specialist did a few tests and basically told me it was a hereditary condition. I’m working desperately on getting some information stating that it’s not Drusen so I can cross train to a Special Forces career field that i have been working on for the past 2 years. This is my only hold up with my entire package. I’m told that Retinal Drusen is not waiver able. I am 31 years of age and have 20-15 uncorrected vision. I’m thinking about getting another opinion before I give it up because nobody seems to know much about this condition. Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks.
I think you should get examined by a retina specialist to correct the mistaken “label.”
Drusen can be normal and macular degeneration is not diagnosed before age 50-55. Retinal dystrophies may occur at a younger age, but can proven/disproven by electophysiologic tests such as ERG and EOG.
Perhaps just a well written letter….?
I’ve been to many retinal specialists. Well not “many”, but three different ones. The latest one, who I would consider the best of them all (since the first told me a blind spot in my vision is nothing to worry about) recently diagnosed me with three possible conditions. The one he is highly confident it of being is optic nerve drusen, which explains the blind spot in my eyes. (large blind spots i might add)
Anyways, when I do research, it doesn’t add up to optic nerve drusen. But he did an ultrasound on my eye and said he could easily see it’s optic nerve drusen. Just that my right eye had some blood leak causing the hemorrhage.
Anyways, should I get a fourth opinion? I worry it might be macular degeneration but I’m only 25. The reason I’m scared is because lines are not “straight”. Text, lines, are all wavey. I see this is a symptom is MD and not optic nerve drusen. Can someone have both OND and MD?? Please help. I know you’re offering free advice and I greatly appreciate it. I am in law school and just want to quit because of it possibly being MD. Thanks
After reviewing the scans, I’d get a different opinion. It’s very difficult for me to render a medical opinion. In general, optic nerve drusen do not cause distortion.
See a retina specialist who might be able to quiet your fears of quitting law school.
Hello doctor, Im a 27 year old, went for a sight check, eye sight is fine have a couple of floaters, she also said I’ve got tiny pigment changes in my eye tiny flecks of drusens, she said is was macula changes, now on research and from a second opion the macular is not the red disk it’s that little dark bit?
My drusen and not near that, when you look at the red disk and you have that yellow ball. Mine are all up round there like 3 or 4? In both eyes but different place. She told me I’ve let to
Much light in. The only time I could of done that was 3 years ago when they’re dilated my eyes, it was a sunny day, dilated my eyes to have a look everything fine, and I went back to work, I’m a driver and couldn’t see anything cause it was so bright..
And I never wear sunglasses? Anyway they said don’t worry about it, but Iam worried that’s It early amd, and if it’s not what’s cause that drusen when im so young?
Thanks for your time doctor
I’m a bit confused by your description, but based on the advice she gave you…get another opinion.
Dear Dr. Wong,
I am 17 weeks pregnant with my first child. I went to the eye dr for my annual visit and she said I had no vision change and am seeing 20/20 with corrective lenses. But that she saw a small, very small white spot near the center of my macula on my left eye. She said it could be a sign of gestational diabetes and to see my obgyn – which I’m going to see on Monday and she told me to make an appointment with a retina specialist. I am not overweight at all. 5′ 2″ was 118 lb befo I got prgnant and worked out a lot and eat right. Now I’m 17 weeks pregnant and have only gained 8 lbs. I eat right but have added more sugar to my diet because I thought I was not supposed to eat artificial sweetener. In addition, I’ve always love fruit and eat a lot of it. Could I have caused this? The eye dr said. That since I showed no problems last year that it seemed due to my pregnancy. Should I be worried? All I want is to have a healthy little one and to keep my vision.
Too little information to get worried. I’d recommend anyone with a white spot near the macula to get examined by a specialist…pregnant or not.
Gestational diabetes does not usually cause diabetic retinopathy, btw.
You should not be worried.
Da xin chao Bac Si !
Xin cho Toi duoc hoi tham , mat toi bi mo vao buoi chieu toi ( khoang 6h pm ) khg lai xe duoc , Toi co di kham bac si chuyen khoa ,Ho noi Toi bi benh : RETINAL DRUSEN EYE , Toi khg hieu benh nay nhu the nao ? Toi kinh mong va nho Bac Si giai thich cho Toi duoc ro . Xin cam on Bac Si nhieu nhieu lam . Than chao
Please try Google translator.
My 11 year-old daughter got new glasses two weeks ago. This week she went back because her vision is blurry with the new glasses. She has now been diagnosed with drusen. She’s scared that she might loose her vision. the optometrist said he couldn’t get better than 20/50 vision with his equipment and sent us to an opthemologist who made it sound like it might just go away. Not too thrilled with that kind of diagnosis.
I’d get a second opinion.
Do you recommend AREDS for prevention of AMD? My mother has wet AMD and I am 56 years old and very nearsighted (-7) with bilateral PVD.
AREDS do not prevent AMD.
AREDS are indicated for patients with the diagnosis of AMD and have intermediate or high risk factors (based on your examination) for developing wet ARMD.
The best advice is to get examined. Your mother having the disease really doesn’t help/hurt your chances.
I went to the eye doctor today for a routine checkup and was told I have drusen in one eye but he said it was Hard to see. I am 54 years old with chronic lymphocytic leukemia for 15 yrs. is there any correlation? Should I go to an opthalmologist and have the test done? My doctor said I don’t need to come back for one year. He said I should eat more leafy green or take lutein and omega3, wear sunglasses. I get lots of exercise and am athletic. I wear reading glasses and my vision deteriorated a bit more than usual from last year. Thank you for any guidance.
I have no idea what is meant by “it was Hard to see.”
CLL is not related to my knowledge.
Did a retinal specialist tell you to return in one year? If not, get a second opinion from a retina person.
All the best.
my 12 yr old was told yesterday from an opthamologist that she has drusen. my concern is that she cant see out of her lt eye when she covers the rt. i know macular deg can lead to blindness. they are going to try sport safety glasses to protect her right eye with a very strong lens in the lt eye to see if they can get improvement. am i right that she could eventually go blind
Kids don’t get typical macular degeneration.
What’s wrong with the right eye?
Dr. Dr. Wong, I have been told that I have drusen for the past 16 years (I’m 58 now) but have had no vision changes. During my annual eye exam this year my opthalmologist said she wasn’t worried because the drusen wasn’t centerally located and I’ve had them for 16 years. Would you agreed with this comment? Thanks! Jane
If the drusen are NOT in the macula….much less to worry about. If your macula is normal, then probably no ARMD.
I am 35 years old, and was said to have very small macular “age spots” on my eye. I get an eye exam every year because a close relative has glaucoma. I have had congenital cataracts and have had numerous operations to remove and then replace lenses in my eyes. The optometrist said that the spots could be related to lack of UV protection provided by a natural lens, so of course now I am very concerned (i have always worn sunglasses anyway). The specialist said I don’t have AMD because I am not old, and is very unlikely even with a great family history, but the optometrist says I’m “on the continuum” which doesn’t comfort me, of course. The specialist also said yellow spots appear for many reasons, even in kids, but he didn’t say why mine might have appeared. As you can imagine, this is very sickening. I have a very unique eye history, I’m young, but I am not THAT young. The ophthalmologist didn’t seem too concerned, but everything I read is NOT encouraging. It’s more like “hope for the best” from this point except being 35, it is a long time to hope for good luck till i die. Is there any encouraging news for someone my age, with my history?
I would get one more opinion from a retinal specialist. May be a fluorescein angiogram might be helpful.
Too many cooks….
Hi. I am 36 and a couple years ago I was diagnosed with a drusen on the macula of my right eye. For the most part there have been no symptoms, although it appeared to grow in size at my last visit. I have a slight distortion from it in my central vision in that eye when looking at a grid. My optometrist told me to just to monitor the distortion and let her know if it gets worse. So far it seems fairly stable, but obviously appeared over the last year or so. I’m in good health, with no history of eye disease in my family, but have poor eye sight (-7.5) when uncorrected.
You have said that the progression to visible distortion is one of the more predictive indicators of ARMD. Is this something to be worried about? Is there really anything I can do besides just monitor it? It clearly has progressed a little bit over the last few years in that one spot.
If you have distortion, and you have been examined by a retina specialist, than probably nothing to do. If you have not been seen by a retina specialist, I would encourage you to do so. There are many reasons for distortion….some of them fixable.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist
I went for a routine eye test a few weeks ago and was told the right eye is showing changes although my vision hasnt changed im 48 and very worried I was told to take Preservison and come back in a year will my sight go down hill very quickly ?
Sounds as though you need a second opinion from a retina specialist. Preservision is only really indicated for patients with medium to high-risk characteristics of macular degeneration. Do you even have these?
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist
Dear Dr Wong, I dont know if I am high risk or not as the optician didnt explain things very well, I dont or never have smoked, I dont sunbathe , my vision is good although I have reading glasses, very confused by it all 🙁
High risk is determined by the appearance of your retina, not your habits.
Thanks. I did see a specialist and they said I have scarring on both macula, but no leaking presently and they will monitor for now. It does appear to be early signs of MD, but not for certain he said. It’s kind of scary to come to terms with but at least I know. He said it could also be sun related or possible a resolved CRS. I’m hoping it doesn’t progress.
Thank you for your time
All the best. Thanks for following!
What do you think of having a DNA swab
To properly diagnose ?
My Son had a cheek swab done
Your son had a DNA swab looking for drusen or macular degeneration. I’m unaware of either.
I had an eye exam today, and I was told that I have Dry MD, I don’t have symtoms are far as my vision.
Can a doctor tell just by looking into a dilated eye . Said I have Drusen in both eyes, My vision is 20/30 I am 59. Don’t know of anyone in my family with MD. I was told to take the eye health viiatiams given a pamphlet on MD and told to come back in a year.
Reading your article about Drusen, could he have seen something differnt? Do I have to have vision problems to have MD.? Scared to death, should have ask more questions but I was to upset. The Dr was a MD
Put your fears to rest. See a retinal specialist and get her opinion.
Doesn’t sound as if vitamins are indicated for you…you must have the diagnosis of ARMD with intermediate to high risk characteristics. Often the vitamins are “over recommended.”
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
My ten year old daughter is getting test because they found drewsen. My question is, why would it start that early??? She did have some eyesight change too.
I can not possibly tell why she is losing vision nor what type of drusen she has without an examination.
I wish you well!
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
I have been diagnosed with Familial Condluent Macular Drusen, My vision has only reduced slightly over the past 5 years. I have had recent episodes of bluriness, though I have an infrequent blurru vision over the past five or six years that comes and goes. I can’t find anything on the web about this condition – though I was told that I was born with this and it is not AMD
What I want to know is typically do people with my consition get worse
Will it be possible that my sight will not experience any drastic vision loss
Also if exposed to prolonged bright sunlight I notice this can trigger vision issues for me any hypthesis on what that could be caused by
I am awaiting further investigation but they said I shouldn’t worry as its likely it won’t get worse any time soon, would love to hear your thoughts
I’d recommend an examination with your eye doctor.
Familial drusen are basically normal and should change your vision.
I’d recommend you get examined based upon your symptoms.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
I’ve been to many many many retina specialists. They say I have optic nerve drusen, which is causing my enlarged blind spots. I also had a choroidal vascular blood leak in the right eye which spread like a wildfire.
But anyways, my left eye never had a leak, just a pretty big blind spot, which I assume is from the ODD.
What I don’t understand is, is why lines are wavy in the left eye with just ODD? I’ve seen very good specialists and they never mention anything wrong with my left eye. In fact I saw one yesterday.
So my question is, can ODD cause lives to be distorted/wavey? It’s my only good eye since the right eye had that extreme blood leak which caused permanent scarring over my fovea. I just don’t understand why my left eye has wavy lines/distorted vision. Other than ODD, there is nothing wrong with my left eye, or at least I’ve never been told anything is wrong with it since they all say my left eye looks good.
I agree that optic nerve drusen don’t cause distortion, but other things can effect the macula and cause distortion.
Have you seen a retina specialist?
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Also, as a side note, I am 26 years old.
I’ve actually been thinking about coming to visit you as a third opinion.
My first retina specialist, who was my local one, told me that I should ignore flashing lights and an enlarged blind spot. Which is why it progressed to scar tissue over my fovea.
I see a specialist in Michigan and one in South Carolina (I’m from Ohio), so I’m used to traveling to see good doctors.
I know some recommend getting a second opinion, but what about a third?
OK, sorry I didn’t see this post before I answered your first.
I don’t understand your first retina specialist’s explanation. Do you have an ERM?
Neither RS offers a suggestion?
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
I just went to my retinal specialist for my third once-a-year exam. The first year I was told I had a few drusen, then next year several although he said it didn’t qualify as ARMD. This year, he said I had dry ARMD and that on a scale of 1 – 10 I would qualify as a 2. This is a 20% uptick since last year. Is this typical? I have no sight issues yet. My father was legally blind at 66 from wet ARMD. Is the 20% increase a sign of how fast it will develop?
Thanks for this column.
How is your vision with contacts or glasses? If the vision is perfect, 20/20, and no distortion, I’d take what he/she says with a grain of salt.
How old are you?
BTW – the scale of 1-10 is rather arbitrary…that is, it’s very subjective. I wouldn’t think it’s 20%.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Thanks for your response. I am 60 and have uncorrected 20/20 in both eyes…except for reading glasses. It just kind of freaks you out to know it is progressing. Can’t decide if it is better to know in advance or just have it hit you.
Every year that your vision remains 20/20…the less likely you’ll develop the disease.
I’d recommend routine follow up.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA 22030
Im a 29 years old male, the only conditions that I’m aware that I have is high blood pressure, controlled with diet, Im also overweight around 80lbs over my ideal weight, severe sinus and allergy problems and asthma that is currently under control. Two years ago I was diagnosed with drusens in the retina, they are located in the same spot on both eyes. The first specialist that I saw told me that they were “away from the bulls eye” , I think he meant that they are far away from the macula. This year I have been examined by two Retina Specialist. The first one told me the same, that they are outside the macula and he didn’t found any other issues with my eyes except for another diagnosis of floaters. He did prescribe ADREDS2 but he said that it was my choice if I wanted to take them or not. He asked me to return in 2 to 5 years for another checkup or immediately if I noticed any changes to my vision. He also asked me to use the Amsler Grid every week to monitor my vision. Then I went to another doctor and he told me that he wasn’t that worried because of the location of the drusens but that we need to monitor them to see if they “spread into the macula”. My corrected vision right now is 15/20 uncorrected is -1.0 and -1.25. I’m nearsighted and also have correction for astigmatism. Five years ago I was -.25 and -.50, two years ago I was -.50 and -.75, last year I was -.75 and -1.0 and this year -1.0 and -1.25. I don’t feel my vision is that bad but I can see the changes in my vision over the past five years, specially the last three years. My question is, do you believe this will be an indicative of AMD? Is my vision loss related to the drusens or possibly to AMD? Should I get a fourth opinion?
Thanks in advance,
I was diagnosed with familial drusen last week, only in one eye.
All I know is that it is out side of the macula and the doc told me not to worry, But I’m scarred.
Not sure what to expect
I’m 35 yrs old.
Thank you, brig
As I mentioned in your email, from what you describe, I don’t think you have anything to worry about regarding familial drusen.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, Virginia 22031
Dear Dr. Wong: How likely is it to inherit age-related macular degeneration from a great-grandmother, if no one else in my direct line of descent, i.e., father or grandfather, had it? My father and his siblings were fine and lived well into their 80s and 90s. However, my father’s grandmother, uncle and 3 of that uncle’s sons have/had MD. Let me add that NONE of my father’s other cousins, aunts, or uncles have/had this condition. For some reason, I’m worried about it, even though it’s not in my direct line of descent….
First of all, most ARMD is not inherited. There is indeed a genetic pre-disposition in that we see it more often in patients of northern European descent. It usually does NOT run in families.
Macular degeneration is a “waste basket” term of diseases which behave and look similarly. In general, ARMD does not run in families. There are records of a few familial inherited forms which do run in families, but these are quite rare.
You may be worried and I’d suggest periodic examination with your eye doctor, especially if you develop sudden and persistent change in vision, including distortion.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA 22030
I am 52 years old female. I am a caregiver to an elderly parent, so I haven’t had my eyes examined for about 5 years. Vision was 20-20 in left eye and 20-25 in right eye last time checked.
I just had an exam with my opthomologist and was told that in this exam, my left eye is 20-25 and 20-45 in my right. He also said I have two small drusen in the macula in both eyes. He asked me if ARMDS runs in my family. We have no family history of the disease. My lipids have always been good but I have had a lot of sun exposure and tanning beds but wear protective eye covers. He doesnt want to see me for a year. He told me to take vitamins and eat more fruit and vegetables. I’m not a smoker. No real health issues. I did have a brief problem with blood pressure but resolved when I stopped taking oral contraceptives.
With corrective glasses, my vision is back to 20-20 in each eye. I dont see wavy lines of blurs when looking at the amsler grid.
Do you feel that I will likely develop ARMD ? I am very scared. He told me with no family history that I am probably ok, but I feel I should have another opinion.
The best advice is to get regular examinations and see your doctor if you note sudden changes in your vision including distortion.
Nothing you’ve said increases or decreases your risks of developing the disease. Only examination and time can tell.
Based upon your comment, one year is fine.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA 22030
My husband has macular degeneration in both eyes, however, thankfully he still has his vision in one eye, which has remained stable over several years. He has been seeing a specialist, and goes every 4 months. My question is since nothing can be done for this disease what is the benefit of him continuing to see the specialist
I understand your questioning. Does he have wet macular degeneration?
Wet macular degeneration can be treated.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA 22030
I’m not sure if you actually answer online questions but here goes. I have spent a frightening week following a trip to the opticians with my partner. He went for a standard eye test as he had broken his glasses. The optometrist examined him and said he had ‘spots’ (I have since been googling and presume these are drusen) in his right eye and this could be syptomatic of a problem with his macula. She also said there was an indication of glaucoma in his left eye due to a slightly increased opening (??) I wasn’t actually in the room with him to ask questions and he didn’t ask any. She’s arranged for him to have a peripheral vision scan and digital retinal scan I think. I have read so much about thsese spots and I have scared myself silly. He has just turned 40, does not smoke (did for a couple of years at around 20, hasn’t for about 18 years), rarely drinks, is physically fairly active etc. He has no family history of any sort of eye problems on either his mother or fathers side. We have two children and I am not only terrified of him losing his sight but also then inheriting something similar. I know its difficult to say before the scans are done, but would you think this is concerning? I haven’t slept since his appointment. He uses eye glasses for computer work but otherwise his sight is perfect and he hasn’t noticed any issues with it – this was meant to be a routine appointment.
Have him see a retina specialist and ask for a fluorescein angiogram. This should help in assessing if drusen are normal or are associated with macular degeneration.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA 22030
I am 61 years of age and have been diagnosed with dry drusen to the left of the macula. Will this developer into macular degeneration. I am so worried
Drusen are often normal and an incidental finding. Get examined periodically. Ask your retina specialist to perform a fluorescein angiogram. This should help calm your fears. Make sure to see your doctor if you sustain and persistent changes in vision, including disortion.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA. 22030
I am 26 years old and have had drusen outside of my macula for several years. My optometrist said he has been monitoring them for 4-5 years and they haven’t changed and my vision is 20/20. After doing my own research online I freaked out and went to see a retinal specialists. He said that I have fine drusen and he considers these low risk. He said said the way AMD type drusen are made are not exactly how these are formed and not to lose sleep over it. He said the layers in my retina are not thinning. He wants me to come back in 18 month just to make sure there are no changes. I guess my question is do you think it is inevitable I will develop AMD? Are my chances higher than normal? Can anything be done?
I can’t predict, but many times drusen are normal when not involving the macula and are in young patients. Each case/person varies and I can’t say for sure in you due to my inability to examine you.
You are doing the right thing by getting frequent exams and following your doctor’s advice.
Sorry for being so vague,
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA. 22030
I hope you can answer this for me. I’m 32 years old female. I went to an eye doctor in December. Had a regular check up like always and he said everything was fine. He didn’t see anything. Well I went to an eye doctor in February….so two months apart. And he says I have some drusen, most likely from having pre eclampsia from when I was pregnant. He said I have an early form of macular degeneration. Which is crazy for a woman of my age. So I have an appt this Wednesday for an ophthalmologist. I’m just wondering if you think this is macular degeneration or what? I’m so nervous and making myself soooo sick worrying about this. My vision is fine ornery than I wear contacts. I have never had any problems with my vision. Please help me!!!
Hoping you got some good news this week after seeing the other doctor. To be sure, you may want to see a retina specialist.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA. 22030
Hi: my optometrist says I have bumps behind my macula and in his opinion it does not look like macular degeneration, however I was sent to an ocular health centre for further examination. Tests were taken to determine if there are leaking blood vessels and I go in June to hear the specialist’s analysis. I am 59 and am having some trouble with seeing numbers. Sometimes the digits are switching places and it’s hard to figure out what the numbers are at times. My optometrist says its because of the bumps which he called drusen. I am worried sick about this because I am close to retiring in 3 years and I want to pursue my second life as an artist. My father had macular degeneration but not until his mid seventies. So fearful about this. I have been taking lutein for some time now and all of the good food that helps prevent AMD.
No way for me to know for certain, but get the opinion of the retina specialist and hopefully a fluorescein angiogram is performed. My best guess is that you are fine if you’ve not noticed anything wrong with your vision.
Get the opinion of the retina specialist.
Best of luck,
I am 17 years old and corrently diagnoised with fammilis drusen,
I have blured vision on lt eye and I was wondering is there any treatment.
Usually there is no change in vision associated with familial drusen. I’d get a second opinion. Have you seen a retina specialist?
Hello Dr. Wong, I am 30 years old as was recently diagnosed with familial drusen by a retinal specialists. My regular eye dr. Thought I had macular degeneration. What is familial drusen and does it mean I will eventually have macular degeneration?
Sound like your retina specialist and I see “eye to eye.”
Listen to the specialist.
I recently saw a retinal specialists who confirmed that I had drusen in my macula, he then said I do not have macular degeneration and that I may have been born with this. Then he sent me a “visit over view” that said his first immpression is amd ou (familial drusen,) drusen and changes in rpe…. I am so confused. I am only 30 and he told me whole I was there that I may never get macular degeneration. Does this seem consistent with my visit over view? I don’t know what I have. Thank you!
My best guess is that he told you that you didn’t have macular degeneration, but you were given patient information biased toward patients with ARMD.
Seems like the message he gave you fact-to-face is the most worthwhile.
I’m 63 and just had my yearly exam. Dry drusen showed in one eye and in the macula with everything in the test coming out normal.
The optometrist said do not worry, he’s not seeing degeneration of the macula. He said to begin Icaps
Vitamins as a precaution. Is there a high percentage of these dry drusen doing damage or can they remain stable.
Obviously,it will be monitored going forward.
No family history, my eye artery and veins in good shape, and vision is normal with corrective glasses.
Thanks for any input.
63 is a legitimate age to be concerned about dry AMD. Usually not diagnosed until after 55. Family history is hit or miss. I don’t agree with ICAPS unless you have intermediate or high risk factors – based upon size of drusen, vision and other characteristics of the exam.
You probably need a fluorescein angiogram to answer the rest of your questions. I simply don’t have the ability to answer accurately without examining you.
If you experience any sustained loss of vision or distortion – see your eye doc.
I am 34 and was diagnosed by a retinal specialist as having Dominant (Familial) Drusen. I went to him after my optometrist said she saw what looked like AMD, and wanted to monitor it. The retina specialist also recommends yearly monitoring with OCT and angiogram (or whatever it is that helps quantify the drusen). Anyway, my optometrist recommended that I start taking AREDs II, but the specialist did not say anything about it. I am hesitant to take the AREDs because I am a former smoker. Will AREDs help with Dominant Drusen, is it worth the risk? I have read somewhat conflicting reports on Dominant Drusen. Some reports indicate that the syndrome at an advanced stage is similar to AMD, in that there is loss of central vision. Other reports indicate just really poor vision which can be “treated” with magnification/glasses. So which is it? Knowing this will help me decide whether taking AREDs is worth the risk of developing cancer…
Also, there is no family history of AMD or dominant drusen, so I am still skeptical about the diagnosis…
The eye doctor told I had lines in my eyes,but no drusen. He also said that they are normal but not for my age (68) but more typical for someone 80. My mother had ARMD so he wanted to see me back 9n 4-6months. How worried do I need to be.
Get checked regularly and especially if you notice any persistent change in vision to include distortion. Otherwise, I don’t have a crystal ball. I am not sure what you mean by lines in your eyes.
Randy – sorry for the delay.
13 years ago when I was 53 yrs old, I expressed that night driving was more difficult than day. The ophthalmologist said that I had an excellent exam with 20/20 vision but would recommend me to a retina specialist for further examination.
The retina specialist conducted a number of tests, asked if anyone in my family had ever gone blind (no), and said that I had dry eye and to use Optive.
At my next eye appt in two years, the ophthalmologist said that I had AMD and would lose my vision. The eye exam went well with 20/20 vision. I explained that I had seen a retina specialist just two years before who had only mentioned dry eye. I checked the bill from the retina specialist who had circled drusen on the bill but never said anything to me.
Since that time I now see a different but the same retina specialist yearly. He initially said that I had a few small drusen.
My last visit I noticed that a one sentence disposition summary states bilateral dry AMD but this has never been told to me. I asked the specialist after the exam if I did indeed have AMD. The response was that I have a few small drusen (he didn’t tell me the location), my vision is 20/20 with correction, and I don’t need any surgery or anything.
My concern is why his answer doesn’t reflect written disposition statement in the electronic chart.
To date I am 66 yrs old with a few small drusen and 20/20 vision with correction.
It’s really difficult to completely correlate what is told to you during the exam and what is reflected in the “superbill.” I woudn’t fret at all about what’s on the superbill and would go with what your doc advised.
Hi Dr. I’m 44 years old. Long story short. I have diabetic which is under control. Last month as usual going for my yearly eye check up. Everything was good but then they told me I have Early Aged Related Macular Degeneration on my left eye. For your info, I did went for cataract surgery on my left eye and that was 6 years ago. They added on that there is nothing to worry about it as this things can happen to just anyone. Other then that, they told me that overall both my eyes is in good condition. I was not being diagnosed with EARMD. Knowing about MD which can make you partially blind worries me. I start to realized that I have a little glare around lights. I google it. For your info, I realized about this glare thing way before they told me that I have EARMD. Is it possible that I might have posterior capsular opacification which google say can fix it with laser? If so, will laser treatment make things worst for my EARMD? Does EARMD means you already have it or it may or may not develop at all in future? I have change my food intake totally. From meat eater to veggie. Will this help to totally stop EARMD from progressing? I’m not a smoker. I’m really looking forward to you answering my question. I really appreciate it. Thank you in advance doctor.
I would get a second opinion. This is too much to handle on a blog. r
I am 54 years old and recently went to get my yearly eye exam. When she was looking into Mayeye she was taking a long time which made me really nervous. When she was done she said you have Drusen in your eyes. I asked her what the treatment was she said there was none I asked her what the cure was she said there was none. Do you understand my reaction you have to know I have a 20-year-old disabled son with autism, with two grown daughters that have gone off and live their own lives and don’t care. I can’t eat I can’t sleep I have anxiety attacks I’m so nervous. She said the only reason she didn’t diagnose me with AMD is because my vision is still 2020. What I really need to know is how many drusen is normal for a 55-year-old to have in her eye? She thought I had five in each Hi but when she took a picture she saw approximately nine in my right eye and 13 or 14 in my left eye. She said she was holding off making a diagnosis because I could still see 2020 and to take PreserVision daily. I have been reading on the Internet nonstop which I know I probably shouldn’t do. Should I go see a specialist? My body doesn’t absorb vitamins unless they’re broke down and I have read articles by David Pierce who lived with us for 20 some years where he actually had a heart attack because the vitamins weren’t water soluble should I be concerned? I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you
I think the best thing to do is get an examination by a retina specialist. Randy
I noticed a change in my vision in my left eye almost like a reaction to over exposure to light so I went to my opthomologist and was told I have a drusen off to the right of my central vision It also showed up in a visual field but the visual field was within normal limits but the same place i noticed the visual change was a spot on the visual field I’m only 27 and I’m concerned that this may be the beginning of something more serious I also had genetic testing and have two faulty Gene’s for AMD I’ve started taking preservison supplements do to my Gene’s and the drusen but I’m wondering if I should be more concerned
Not sure there is an indication for taking the AREDS2. You are also a bit young to have AMRD. I’d recommend you see a retina specialist if you are concerned. All the best, Randy.
I posted a comment here a few days ago I’m hoping Dr. you’re still answering please. I am 54 years old and visited the optometrist two weeks ago in February. I was told by the optometrist I had bruising in both eyes she advised me to come back and take a photograph which would give her a clearer picture of my drusen.
I am a caregiver to my 20-year-old autistic son. I am his guardian and do everything for him. I am petrified! After taking the picture she called me and said I had 10 approximately in my right eye and 15 in my left eye and to take PreserVision Areds 2 . I can’t eat I can’t sleep I’ve lost 10 pounds in 10 days. I do have a couple of black marks in each eye when I really concentrate that I can see they are little. Does this mean I have macular degeneration? I go to the eye doctor every year. I was seen in November 27 of 2018, Also five months ago in September 2019 because I had a cyst on my left eye. At that visit she did a dilated eye exam and never mention drusen and circled no drusen on my sheet . The doctor said she didn’t know how fast is in good form but this seemed almost impossible for her to have seen no drusen 4 1/2 months ago that she had missed them. Does AMD always progressed to the last stage. Is there anyway to halt this ? Everything I read says so many people have this but they have absolutely nothing to do for dry AMD. Should I go see a specialist? I honestly feel like my life is over and I have failed my son. Could you give me some response to help me understand please.thankyou.
At this point, I would definitely get the opinion of a retina specialist who can exam you and make some recommendations. At the very least, you deserve a second opinion.
Dear Dr. Wong. When I was 45 I was told by an opthamologist I probably had MD based on her finding of drusen. I went to 5 specialists, half said ‘no’ half said ‘yes’ – the latest who is a renown specialist says technically yes as I have one larger drusen in left eye only. Been stable since I’m now 50. I have horrific eye sight in left eye (6 in distance with bad astigmatism) I had a lazy eye in my left as kid, and it’s progressively worsened going from 3 to 6 in distance through the years. But years before the drusen it was bad so don’t feel the vision is ’caused’ by the drusen. I have relatively good close sight and no blank spots I can do the test with the lines without seeing any wavy and have no symptoms aside bad eye sight which I have always had. My right eye has nothing. I take AREDS but obviously have been terrified of going ‘blind’ in both eyes as they say if it’s ARMD then eventually it will be both eyes. Most eye drs say yes it must be MD despite this beginning at 45. I have worn dark glasses my entire life and eat healthily. I have the MG gene from both parents – BUT nobody in my family has MD aside possibly a great grandmother who did go blind but nobody knows why (could have been cateracts). It has left me fearing blindness. I would just love to know if it is MD or not and if it will definitely rob me of my ability to read and watch TV and use a computer/phone. Thank you for all that you d0 – I would love to see you or pay to talk to you about this or get any advice at all. Much appreciated. Candice
In general, if you have dry macular degeneration (AMD) in one eye, which is what you describe, your risk of developing the condition in the other eye is estimated to be about 20-30%. However, these are general estimates and your individual risk may be higher or lower depending on your specific risk factors, such as age, family history, smoking, and exposure to UV light.
I am assuming you are not a smoker; if you are, it is vital that you quit to prevent increasing the chances of progression.
Technically, the benefit of AREDS2 in preventing progression of AMD was only seen in patients with large drusen in both eyes or advanced AMD in one eye with a large drusen in the fellow eye. You are not in either of those two categories (which is a good thing as it means your situation is very mild). That said, AREDS2 is not a high-risk supplement and it more than likely will not hurt you to take it.
As long as you are getting routine eye exams, I would not waste time worrying about losing vision due to AMD. Many people live with AMD and never notice a change in their visual acuity. If the doctor notices any changes, he or she will choose to monitor you more closely. Further, there are treatments available to help prevent progression in the low likelihood your condition progresses.
Hope this alleviates some of your concerns,
Dr. Mike Rosco
I am a 52 years old, this past week I went to my eye Dr for a routine annual exam. He told me that I have benign small Drusen that are scattered and are peripheral Drusen in both eyes. He said it’s not MD but is a risk factor for it. After researching, I am terrified. Am I overly anxious? Should I see a Retinal Specialist? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you