Wet vs. Dry Macular Degeneration
Most people with macular degeneration have the more common form, dry AMD, in one or both eyes. In one out of 10 people, dry AMD progresses to wet AMD.
Dry macular degeneration
Macular degeneration typically starts with the dry form.
Starting around age 50, it’s common for small yellow deposits called drusen to form under the macula. With dry AMD (also called geographic atrophy), there are more and larger drusen, and the macula thins. A number of factors can impact the development of drusen—from genetics to damage from ultraviolet rays and the effects of smoking.
How does dry AMD affect vision? The center of your vision can become wavy and fuzzy. These changes may make it harder to read, recognize faces or see well in poorly lit or dark places. Dry AMD usually worsens slowly and may not become severe, but it can progress to the point of having significant symptoms, including dark spots that can block your central vision.
Wet macular degeneration
Wet AMD, also called neovascular AMD, is a more severe type of macular degeneration. About one in 10 people with dry AMD go on to develop wet AMD in one or both eyes. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina, leaking blood and fluid that can cause bulging, swelling and permanent scarring of the macula.
How does wet AMD affect vision? With wet AMD, there may be blurry or blind spots in the central vision as well as distortions and a loss in color vision. Wet AMD can seem to appear suddenly and may worsen quickly.