Is Macular Degeneration Painful?

Elderly man with massive glasses isolated on white background

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula, a part of the retina. This condition may lead to impairment of vision, causing blurriness and, in advanced stages, a blind spot in the center of vision. Macular degeneration typically does not lead to total blindness, but it is capable of leading to disabling visual impairment.

Macular degeneration may be scary for the affected patients, but it is rarely associated with actual pain. Symptoms are rarely present in the early stages, making regular checkups all the more important. As macular degeneration progresses, the patient may begin to experience slight visual distortion, such as straight lines appearing wavy or broken. Additional symptoms may include a distortion in the center of the patient’s vision, including white-outs or dark, blurry areas in the center of vision. Very rarely, a macular degeneration patient may experience diminished or changed ability in perceiving colors. Actual eye pain, however, is not commonly reported with macular degeneration, and may indicate a more serious condition.

At this point in time, macular degeneration is not curable, but there are treatments that may help prevent vision loss or slow the progression of the condition. While macular degeneration itself is not painful, some of the treatment methods may be accompanied by some pain. Common treatments include:

  • Anti-angiogenic drugs – These medications are injected into the eye to block the development of the abnormal blood vessels that cause wet-form macular degeneration. While injections may cause some temporary discomfort, this treatment has proven extremely effective in many cases of wet-form macular degeneration.

  • Laser treatment – The use of precise laser lights may actively stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels behind the macula may also cause temporary discomfort, but may slow the progression of wet-form macular degeneration.

  • Photodynamic laser therapy – This is a sort of combination of the two aforementioned treatments. A light-sensitive medication is injected into the bloodstream, from which it is absorbed by irregular blood vessels. A laser is then used to activate the medication in the irregular blood vessels for the purpose of damaging those vessels, preventing them from growing and causing further damage to the macula.

  • Vitamins – Certain vitamins may help maintain or improve eye health. Vitamin regimens may be started early on and are not likely to cause any discomfort.


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