Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration

Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration

Posted under Eye Conditions

For those of you who are new to the vision world of macular degeneration, the two most common types of age related macular degeneration (AMD)  are dry AMD and wet AMD.

The reason for the use of the words “dry” and “wet”  is that in the wet form, tiny capillaries start growing under the macula, the center of the retina.  These capillaries are very fragile and start to leak fluid and blood which causes photoreceptor cells to die . The fluid and blood also raises the normally flat macula. The result is sudden and severe vision changes such as straight lines appearing wavy and a gray or black spot appearing right in the middle of one’s vision. Dry age related macular degeneration does not have these leaking blood vessels and so it gets the name “dry.”

Cause of Macular Degeneration

However, people who have wet macular degeneration almost always start out with the dry form.   The dry form of this retinal condition is the result of changes in the layers of the retina. These layers are responsible in delivering important nutrients and oxygen to the macula and to remove waste products that have built up. When either of these delivery systems no longer function optimally, the results is degeneration of the photoreceptor cells.

Dry Macular Degeneration Symptoms

Vision changes for dry macular degeneration are more gradual and subtle. You may notice that you need more light to read a book or to check your mail. It may be harder to distinguish the navy blue socks from the black socks. Colors appear dull and less vivid. You may become more sensitive to glare or your eyes may have a harder time adjusting when going from bright sunlight to a darker room .  Objects appear somewhat blurry rather than sharp and distinct.

Dry Macular Degeneration Stages

Although wet macular degeneration normally causes more severe vision changes, advanced dry macular degeneration can also mean a loss of central vision.  The three stages are early AMD, intermediate, and then advanced AMD or geographic atrophy.  Macular drusen are small yellow deposits found during a retina exam. The size, shape and number of drusen are an indicator of the stage of AMD.

Dry Macular Degeneration Treatment

There are several clinical trials that are looking for effective ways to treat dry AMD. Inflammation seems to play a key role in this degenerative eye disease.  An anti-inflammatory diet helps to reduce chronic inflammation in our bodies. Many studies have shown that antioxidants whether from food or supplements play a key role in our eye health.

Find out more about what causes dry AMD and what you can do to help support your vision health by going to:
Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration

Better Health for Better Vision
Leslie Degner, RN, BSN