Understanding Macular Degeneration

A disease commonly associated with aging, often referred to as AMD, or age-related macular degeneration, is the gradual loss of sharp and central vision. Affecting the macula located in the center of the retina, the light sensitive tissue (located in the back of the eye), responsible for sending impulse and nerve signals to the brain, is compromised. Macular degeneration is presented in two forms: Dry and Wet AMD.
It is possible for macular degeneration to advance without pain and causing little to no sign of change in vision, while in other cases, the loss of vision occurs more rapidly.

Wet AMD/ Advance Macular Degeneration

Wet macular degeneration is the type of AMD that can occur and effect vision rapidly. The growths of abnormal blood vessels (both fragile and weak) develop behind the eye, beginning to leak fluid and blood as a result of the blood vessel frailty. This fluid and blood combination raises the position of the macula from its natural position causing rapid damage to the eye. Unlike Dry macular degeneration, there are no progressing stages to Wet AMD. An early indication of wet AMD is the appearance of straight lines in a wavy motion. If this happens, contact an eye care specialist immediately.


This type of macular degeneration occurs in 3 stages and progresses over time. Dry AMD is the gradual breakdown of the light sensitive tissue located in the back of the eye and the increasing presence of drusen (yellowish deposits under the retina). Dry macular degeneration may occur in one or both eyes, unlike Wet AMD, which affects both eyes.

  1. Early AMD: In the beginning stage of dry macular degeneration, the presence of several small drusen, or few mid-size drusen, are found under the retina. Though the presence of drusen alone does not cause vision loss, it is unclear what relationship the drusen possesses along side macular degeneration. During this stage, there is no vision loss.
  2. Intermediate AMD: This stage macular degeneration, the eye reveals multiple mid-size drusen, or one to a few large sized drusen. As the light sensitive tissue in the back of the eye continues to breakdown, it is possible to begin to experience the developing central vision blurred spot. Additional lighting may also be required during this stage to assist with tasks such as reading.
  3. Advanced Dry AMD: With the presence of the drusen, people with advanced dry macular degeneration salso incur the breakdown of not only the light sensitive tissues, but also the supporting light sensitive cells in the central retina. As a result the central vision is further compromised by darkening and blurred vision. Over time, the central loss of vision may progressively darken and grow to taking more necessary vision.