Wet AMD may affect your vision the same way as a stone hitting your car’s windscreen, starting off as a gradual impairment but eventually becoming more severe over time.
But the good news is, that with early diagnosis and treatment, people with wet AMD may be able to stop and even restore vision loss.
“Learning what I could helped me wrap my head around wet AMD and ask my doctor better questions.”
You can purchase large-print playing cards, bingo cards, crossword puzzles, calendars, TV remotes, and other such commonplace items that may be difficult to use if your vision is declining. You can also sit closer to the TV or, if you are going to a movie or a performance, get a seat up front.
Wet AMD is one of 2 forms of AMD. AMD is a disease that affects the eye and is associated with advanced age. In people with AMD, the central vision is gradually destroyed. This central vision is needed to see things clearly. Without the central vision, tasks like recognizing faces, reading, and driving a car are difficult or impossible. AMD does not cause pain.
AMD affects a portion of the retina at the back of the eye called the macula. The macula is a light-sensitive tissue needed to see fine details. The 2 forms of AMD, wet and dry, both affect the macula.
Wet AMD, also called neovascular macular degeneration, is the most severe form of the disease. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels begin to grow beneath the macula and leak blood and fluid. This leakage can lead to scarring and permanent visual impairment in as little as 3 months.
Click on any of the pictures below to see how wet AMD develops.
In the healthy retina, tight junctions between specialized cells are important for a proper balance of fluid. Normal blood vessels are underneath this layer of cells.
The formation of drusen, yellowish deposits of waste from aging cells, disrupts the proper functioning and balance of the cell layer.
This can lead to changes in the environment in the retina which may cause the release of growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). These growth factors lead to the formation of fragile blood vessels that leak blood and fluid.
For those who want more detailed information, take a deeper dive at the ScienceOfAMD.org Web site, provided by The Angiogenesis Foundation.
Dry AMD is the more common and less severe form of the disease. Dry AMD accounts for 85% to 90% of all cases of AMD. Dry AMD develops in stages (early, intermediate, and advanced) and starts with a gradual blurring of the central vision. Spots may then appear in the center of vision. Over time, central vision can be lost completely. Dry AMD generally affects both eyes. However, vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye shows little loss of function.
The blurred vision in dry AMD is caused by the formation of drusen. Drusen are deposits under the retina that are believed to be caused by waste as cells break down with age. Drusen is commonly found in people over the age of 60 and is a natural part of aging. However, the deposits of drusen can increase in size and number and disrupt and breakdown tissues in the eye, causing vision loss.
Approximately 10% to 15% of cases of dry AMD advance to wet AMD. While dry AMD almost always precedes wet AMD, there is currently no way to predict if someone with dry AMD will also develop wet AMD. It’s important to note that it’s possible to have both dry AMD and wet AMD at the same time—dry AMD does not go away once it progresses to wet AMD. The best way to avoid this scenario is to have regular check-ups with your doctor to detect AMD early.
There are many types of magnifiers that come in different powers. Consider handheld or stand-based magnifiers, as well as magnifier apps for your smart phone and a magnifier computer mouse.