What Are Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration?


Quick Answer

Wet and dry macular degeneration are the two types of macular degeneration, which is an eye condition that causes visual impairment among the elderly. The occurrence of macular degeneration is closely associated with the aging process, therefore this eyesight disorder is commonly referred to as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, as stated by WebMD.

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What Are Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration?
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Full Answer

The macula, which is responsible for visual acuity and central vision, refers to the small, distinct region near the middle part of the retina. This area gradually declines and loses functionality as a person grows older. However, Caucasians, smokers and those with a family history of AMD have greater potential of developing the condition, as reported by the National Eye Institute.

Dry AMD typically develops first and may later progress into wet AMD in some instances, according to VisionAware, which is part of the American Foundation for the Blind. Dry AMD, also known as atrophic AMD, occurs when yellowish deposits called drusen accumulate underneath the macula. This often results in blurry or distorted vision. Progressive dry AMD may lead to a chronic loss of vision in the central field due to severe damage of the light-sensing cells of the macula.

Wet AMD, or neovascular AMD, occurs when abnormal blood vessels from the vascular layer of the eyeball increase in size. When these blood vessels rupture, blood and fluid may leak into the retina, causing the macula to become inflamed, which potentially leads to acute visual loss.

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