How To Buy Glasses for Macular Degeneration

Updated July 18, 2017

Macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease in which the tissue in the centre of your retina, the macula, deteriorates. This doesn't cause total blindness, but causes a blind spot in your central vision, leaving dim images or black holes at the centre of your vision. Macular degeneration usually occurs in adults age 50 and older. Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of the disease; the term dry means bleeding doesn't occur when the tissue is deteriorated. Glasses and magnifiers can be purchased to help compensate for some of the vision loss.

Purchase magnification eyeglasses in the level you need to read and see up close. These can be found with or without a built-in light. These glasses are available in hand-held models, free-standing models, mounted on a headband or on your existing eyeglasses. Ask your optician to fit you with a wide bifocal lens. A wider style lens provides a reading area that allows you to do precise or detail work; and it includes a correction for your distance vision beyond 18 inches.

Look for miniature telescopes and binoculars that you can wear like eyeglasses. These will help with distance viewing. Binoculars that are mounted into eyeglass frames are called Telescopic Spectacles. They are available for one or both eyes, and the telescope can be custom- mounted according to your vision needs.

Try out a pair of special eyeglasses with bifocal or trifocal lenses. High-power, prismatic "half-eye" reading glasses can help your good vision in one eye cancel out the bad vision in the other eye.

Ask your eye doctor about the high-tech vision aids that are available today, such as video reading systems that can enlarge type to 60 times its size. There are also autofocus spectacle telescopes available that could help you.

Ask your eye doctor about using low vision prescription filters/sunglasses. Ultra-violet radiation and blue wavelengths of light can reduce your ability to see under bright sunlight if you have macular degeneration. Your doctor will decide which colour lens is best for you. Some people see best with yellow, orange or brown lenses; others see best with green or blue lenses.

Ask your eye doctor if transition lenses would be helpful for you. These lenses change from a clear lens when you are indoors to a darker lens when you are outside. Your doctor can prescribe custom lenses that will reduce the glare from indoor fluorescent lights and then filter out ultraviolet radiation and harmful blue wavelengths of light when you are outdoors. You can also get lenses that are coated with a mirror to reduce the amount of light that enters the eyes.

Ask your optician to fit you with eyeglass frames that block light from the top, bottom and sides to reduce the glare from light. These will reduce the discomfort you may have from light that shines behind the frames into your eyes.

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About the Author

Jacqueline Trovato is a published writer with more than 25 years' experience in marketing communications and public relations. She specializes in health care communications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education with a minor in psychology from James Madison University.