Wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) is far less
common but much more harmful to a person's vision than dry AMD. Only about 1
out of 10 people with macular degeneration has wet AMD.1 But wet AMD accounts for 9 out of 10 cases of blindness caused by
Doctors may also refer to
wet AMD as neovascular, exudative, or disciform AMD.
Age-related macular degeneration can be detected in a routine eye exam. One of the most common early signs of macular degeneration is the presence of drusen -- tiny yellow deposits under the retina. Your doctor can see these when examining your eyes. Your doctor may also ask you to look at an Amsler grid -- a pattern of straight lines that resemble a checkerboard. Some of the straight lines may appear wavy to you, or you may notice that some of the lines are missing. These can be signs of macular...
Wet AMD often
develops in areas of dry AMD when breaks develop in the deeper layers of the
retina and abnormal blood vessels grow into these breaks (choroidal
neovascularization). The abnormal blood vessels are fragile and leak blood and
fluid under the macula. They also cause abnormal scar tissue to form under the
macula and distort the shape and position of the macula.
People rarely go completely blind from the disease, because
it does not affect side (peripheral) vision. But wet AMD can cause a severe or
even a total loss of
central vision. In some cases, treatment may slow down
or delay vision loss. But treatment is not usually effective over the long
Arnold J, Heriot W (2007). AMD, search date March 2006. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
American Academy of Ophthalmology (2008).
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Preferred Practice Pattern). San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Steven T. Charles, MD - Ophthalmology
July 20, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
July 20, 2011
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