What Type of Macular Degeneration Do You Have?

What Type of Macular Degeneration Do You Have?

Posted under Eye Conditions

Perhaps you or someone close to you has recently received a diagnosis of age related macular degeneration (AMD).  Depending on the eye doctor, an explanation of this retinal disease was very brief or perhaps the diagnosis was so overwhelming it was difficult to hear anything else that was said.

I remember when my father-in-law was first diagnosed with macular degeneration, all he could tell us was that he had the type of AMD that didn’t cause severe vision loss.  Several years later my mother-in-law informed us that his wet macular degeneration had turned to dry macular degeneration – which is not possible.  Clearly she and my father-in-law did not have a good understanding of his macular disease. Knowing one’s diagnosis is the first step in dealing with vision loss.  Did you know that each eye can have a different form or a different type of macular degeneration? One eye can have dry AMD while the other eye may have wet AMD. So be sure to ask your doctor about each eye.

Macular degeneration is a progressive disease – meaning that without any intervention the normal progression is for one’s vision to get worse.  However, it is one’s central vision or straight ahead vision that is affected, not one’s side or peripheral vision.  The two main forms of AMD are dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration.

Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of AMD. According to the National Eye Institute,  “More than 85 percent of all people with intermediate and advanced AMD combined have the dry form.”  There are several different stages to this eye disease.  Vision loss varies from person to person and is dependent on the stage of their macular degeneration.  The most common symptoms are the need for more light, blurred vision, and less vivid color vision. This type of AMD progresses more slowly than the wet form, however dry AMD can turn to wet AMD in one or both eyes.

Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet macular degeneration gets it name from the leaking fluid that comes from tiny, fragile blood vessels that develop under the macula. This fluid buildup causes the death or degeneration of photoreceptor cells and also causes the macular, a tiny spot in the middle of the retina to raise up. As a result vision changes are more sudden and more severe.  Straight lines appear wavy and a dark or gray spot appears in the middle of one’s vision.

For a better understanding of the stages of macular degeneration and to help you identify which stage your macular degeneration is in go to:

Stages of Macular Degeneration

Better Health for Better Vision

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN