FAQs – How are Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration Different?

Macular Degeneration is a progressive eye disease that can result in a loss of your central vision.  Genetics and environmental factors are likely to blame and are significant causes of visual impairment in adults over 50.  Macular Degeneration has two forms: ‘dry’ and ‘wet’.  What are the differences between ‘Wet’ and ‘Dry’ macular degeneration?  What affect do they have on your vision?

Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry Macular Degeneration is caused when the light-sensitive cells in the central part of your vision slowly break down. This results in gradually blurring vision that may start with one or two spots, which eventually expand into larger areas, causing loss of vision.  This form of Macular Degeneration tends to progress at a slower rate.

Dry Macular Degeneration has three stages:

  1. Early Macular Degeneration: results in small yellow spots under your retina. In this stage, you will rarely experience symptoms or loss of vision.
  2. Intermediate Macular Degeneration: the yellow spots under your retina grow larger and expand, causing blurred spots in the center of your vision. You may notice a need for increased lighting to read or perform other tasks.
  3. Advanced Macular Degeneration: in addition to yellow spots, the light-sensitive cells in your central retinal area break down, causing a large, blurred spot in the center of your vision. This blurred spot may grow larger and darker over time. Reading and recognizing faces may become more difficult.  In addition to increased lighting, you may also need magnification or more contrast to see printed text clearly.

Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet Macular Degeneration may progress more quickly and can have a sudden impact on your vision.  Approximately 10-15% of people with Macular Degeneration experience the ‘wet’ form.  It is the result of leaking blood and fluid from your blood vessels, located behind your retina. These fluids cause the macula to be raised from its natural place, producing rapid damage to your vision. One of the earliest symptoms you may experience is that straight lines appear wavy.

Living with Macular Degeneration

If you are experiencing vision loss due to either form of Macular Degeneration, discuss your changing vision with your eye care professional, ask about orientation and mobility training, and how to make the most of your remaining vision.  There are many low vision aids and assistive devices to help you with tasks that you may now find difficult and can enable you to continue leading a full and independent life.  Having trouble finding the right low vision aids for the activities you enjoy the most?  Connect with us!

Feb 10, 2021

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