Learn why and how "dry" age-related macular degeneration develops into the more advanced, vision-threatening form.
Frank Siringo, M.D., O.D., chief of vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at Omni Eye Specialists in Denver, describes the differences between dry and wet macular degeneration, and how to prevent vision loss.
Wet AMD is sort of the end or advanced stage of dry AMD. And dry AMD starts off with these yellow deposits under the retina, which we call drusen. Dry AMD also oftentimes has pigmentary or coloration changes in the retina, which we can see when the doctor looks into the patient's eyes.
Ror some reason, and we're not quite sure exactly why, a certain amount of patients, perhaps 10 percent or so with dry AMD, will go on to have wet AMD. And this process occurs when new blood vessels start growing under the retina, and they're not normal blood vessels. They're weak and they start to leak fluid and blood. Untreated it's usually weeks to months before there is permanent vision loss in wet AMD. One of the most important things we find, to give a patient a good prognosis, is the vision on the day that I meet them is actually really important. So, the better the vision when we meet, the better the overall prognosis.