Dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) is the most
common form of AMD, accounting for 9 out of 10 cases of AMD.1 Doctors may also refer to dry AMD as nonexudative AMD.
Dry AMD may begin with the buildup of yellowish white deposits under the
drusen. Over time, the deposits grow together and
harden and may interfere with the normal function of the retina and the support
cells (retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE) beneath it. Parts of the macula and
the support cells beneath the macula become thinner or break down. The blood
vessels in the choroidal layer beneath the macula and retina may also stop
working. This process is called atrophy. The breakdown of these eye tissues
damages the cells in the macula that provide central vision.
Your ophthalmologist or optometrist will inspect the macula, the portion of the retina that is responsible for your central vision, as part of a comprehensive eye exam. If macular degeneration is suspected, a special photographic procedure using dye, called fluorescein angiography, may be performed. The test details the pattern of your eye's blood vessels and can detect a variety of abnormalities.