The difference between wet and dry age-related macular degeneration is that the wet form involves the growth of new blood vessels under the retina of the eye, while the dry form involves the breakdown of cells in the macula. Vision loss is typically more serious with wet macular degeneration.
Dry age-related macular degeneration is far more common than the wet version, occurring in up to 90 percent of cases. As the name implies, age-related macular degeneration typically develops in older individuals. It is the primary cause of blindness in people over 65 in America.
In early-stage macular degeneration, there is generally no loss of vision and the diagnosis is given when an eye doctor notices a specific type of particles in the eye. Intermediate age-related macular degeneration is also often symptom-free and only discovered if the individual has an eye exam, but some vision loss at this stage is possible. Late-stage macular degeneration involves vision loss as well as the presence of particles in the eye that can be seen during an eye exam. Age-related macular degeneration is only diagnosed as dry or wet during the late stage. Dry and wet macular degeneration can occur in the same eye, and the dry form can progress into the wet form over time.