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.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 60. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. Because the disease develops as a person ages, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although macular degeneration is almost never a totally blinding condition, it can be a source of significant visual disability.