What is wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

There are two common types of AMD. Most people (about 90 percent) have a form of AMD called atrophic or dry AMD, which develops when the tissues of the macula grow thin with age. Dry AMD usually causes a slow loss of vision. A second, smaller group of people (about 10 percent) have a more serious condition called exudative or wet AMD.

Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina. These unhealthy vessels leak blood and fluid, which can scar the macula. For patients with wet AMD, vision loss may be rapid and severe.

Jeffrey S. Heier, MD
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a serious disease that can steal a person's central vision. The vast majority (90%) of people with AMD have the dry or atrophic type. All people with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) start out with the dry form. Although wet AMD is less common, it progresses more rapidly, and vision loss can occur suddenly. It results when abnormal blood vessels develop in the layer of cells beneath the retina (the choroid layer) and extend like tentacles under and into the retina, toward the macula. These new vessels are prone to leaking fluid and blood, which injure tissue and photoreceptor cells. The outcome is scarring and marked loss of vision, usually in the center of the macula (area of the retina responsible for sharp central vision).

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