What is the Difference Between Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration?


The macula refers to the central part of the retina, sale the nerve in the eye that senses light. Some patients experience a deterioration of the macula over time, leading to vision complications, but rarely to total blindness. The primary symptom is blurred vision, leading to inconveniences such as difficulty recognizing faces or a need for increased light while reading or engaging in other activities. This condition may sound pretty straight-forward, pills but there are actually two forms of macular degeneration: dry form and wet form.

Dry form macular degeneration is the far more common form, affected between 80 and 90 percent of all macular degeneration patients. It is characterized by white or yellow deposits, drugstore called drusen, in the retina, behind the macula. As these drusen deposits grow in size, the patient’s vision may become distorted or dimmed. In advanced stages, the light-sensitive tissue in the macula thins, with the potential of ultimately leading to a dark spot in the center of the patient’s vision. The cause of dry form macular degeneration is, at this time, unknown, and there is currently no cure or proven effective treatment. Dry form macular degeneration progresses more slowly than wet form.

Wet form macular degeneration is far more uncommon, and is often preceded by dry form macular degeneration. This is characterized by the development of abnormal blood vessels underneath the macula. These blood vessels may leak into the retina, eventually having the potential to displace the macula. Wet form macular degeneration typically causes straight lines to appear blurry in its early stages, and this form of macular degeneration tends to progress rapidly. Many treatment options are available for wet form macular degeneration.

Regular, annual visits to your eye doctor may help track the health of your eyes, particularly the retina.  If you notice changes in your vision, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.


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