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Macular degeneration is classified as either wet (neovascular) or dry (non-neovascular). The wet type usually leads to more profound vision loss. Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye. The amount of vision lost depends on the severity of the disease. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye. Damage to the macula occurs rapidly.
This type of macular degeneration is the most common, and typically results in a gradual loss of vision usually over years to decades. One of the possible characteristics of this disease is the presence of drusen which are small, yellowish deposits that form within the layers of the retina. Another sign is loss of pigment in the retina with thinning of the tissue.
Though only 10 percent of patients who suffer from macular degeneration have wet AMD, it is responsible for the more advanced amounts of vision loss. Even with aggressive treatment these patients can lose vision permanently in their central field. However, new treatments have been shown to increase the chances of regaining some vision, maintaining the patient's current residual vision, and/or decreasing the chances of losing further vision. The cause of the wet form is from growth of new, abnormal vessels in the area of the macula. These can scar and destroy the macular tissue causing vision to be distorted and blurred. It is this scar tissue that can cause central vision to be severely affected in some cases.
If you have any questions about Macular Degeneration or your Macular Degeneration treatment options, please contact us at one of our office locations serving the surrounding communities of Tampa Bay, Zephyrhills, Sun City Center and Bushnell.