Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Wet vs. Dry

September 11th, 2020

Everything changes with age. While we might get wiser as we get older, many increased health risks come along with that wisdom. Vision loss is a huge concern for many people, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause among people aged 60 and over. AMD is a disease caused by the deterioration of the macula, a small part of the retina that controls your ability to see finer details straight on. Although it doesn’t usually lead to complete blindness, it can cause significant problems with your vision that worsen as you age. There are two types of AMD: wet and dry. Understanding the difference between wet and dry macular degeneration can help you know what you’re up against as you enter your golden years.

Wet vs. Dry Macular Degeneration

The first factor to note when comparing Dry vs. Wet AMD is that the dry form is much more common. As it worsens, dry macular degeneration can turn into the wet form, but this only happens in roughly 10% of patients.

Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The following occurrences distinguish dry AMD:

  • The following occurrences distinguish dry AMD:
  • Macula tissues degenerate as you age, losing their functions and leading to a build-up of waste under the retina known as drusen.
  • As drusen build, becoming larger and multiplying, they begin to distort your vision gradually.
  • Blind spots may impair patients’ central vision.
  • These blind spots will make activities like reading and driving difficult or impossible.

Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Wet AMD is a natural progression from the dry form. Here’s how it compares:

  • Weak, unhealthy blood vessels form under the retina where they leak blood and fluid (hence the term “wet”).
  • These fluids lead to irreversible scarring that can cause a complete loss of central vision.
  • Wet age-related macular degeneration accounts for the vast majority of legal blindness.

What Is the Difference Between Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration Symptoms?

Both types of age-related macular degeneration involve these symptoms:

  • Blurry vision
  • Inability to read or drive
  • Dark spots in the center of your eyesight
  • In some instances, a distorted ability to perceive colors

The main difference between wet and dry macular degeneration is that damage happens much faster once the disease reaches its wet form. Dry AMD may progress slowly over a long period of time, but the symptoms of wet AMD get worse rapidly, potentially leading to blindness. Before it reaches that point, wet AMD can also make straight lines look wavy, causing confusion, frustration and an inability to carry out everyday life activities. Because of its slow progression, it’s possible that dry age-related macular degeneration only ever leads to drusen and discoloration of your pigments.

Which Is Worse, Dry or Wet Macular Degeneration?

In case it isn’t clear at this point, wet macular degeneration is much worse than dry. However, dry macular degeneration can eventually turn into wet, so it’s always important to take the proper precautions.

What Can You Do About Wet or Dry Macular Degeneration?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for AMD. However, whether you have wet or dry macular degeneration, there are some steps you can take to prevent it from worsening. First of all, it is crucial to monitor your eyesight for any changes that occur. From there, regular eye exams are necessary as your doctor can properly assess these changes and make appropriate recommendations. Lifestyle changes may could be helpful — things like smoking and eating saturated fats are known to increase the risks of age-related macular degeneration. Finally, there are some treatment options, including various eye care products, dietary supplements, laser therapies, prescription drugs and vision aids — all of which you can discuss with your doctor.

There’s No Cure for Age-Related Macular Degeneration, But Focus Labs Can Help

In comparing wet vs. dry macular degeneration, it’s apparent that neither one is something to look forward to as you age. However, if you suspect you have symptoms of AMD, talk to your doctor about taking a dietary supplement, like TOZAL® Vitamin Supplements. Focus Labs is dedicated to eye care and to helping doctors provide their patients products that support ocular health. Contact us today to learn more!

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