Types of AMD
“Dry” Age Related Macular Degeneration
Dry age related macular degeneration is the most common of the 2 types of AMD. In fact, 90 percent of AMD patients are diagnosed with this dry form. It is diagnosed when cells and blood vessels underneath the macula break down and cause yellowish deposits, known as drusen, in the macula. It is this drusen that causes a loss of central vision. Dry AMD usually causes a slow, gradual deterioration of vision unlike the acute symptoms of the wet form of AMD.
“Wet” Age Related Macular Degeneration
Wet age related macular degeneration is the more serious of the 2 forms of AMD, and occurs in about 10 percent of cases. With wet AMD, sometimes known as neovascular AMD, there is abnormal blood vessel growth beneath the retina. It is caused when the body responds to the lack of nutrients and oxygen in the retina by forming a new network of blood vessels. As the blood vessels grow, they can leak blood, causing scarring and permanently damaging light-sensitive retinal cells. Eventually these cells die, which creates a large black spot in the central vision.
Unlike dry AMD, wet AMD can cause rapid changes in vision. In fact, a change in vision from one day to the next is quite possible. That is the reason that we recommend that all patients with AMD, both wet and dry, use either the Amsler grid or the ForeseeHome Monitoring System everyday. If you notice a change in the grid that has occurred over a day or two, it could be the start of wet macular degeneration and you should contact us quickly. Alternatively, the ForeseeHome Monitoring technology will automatically detect any changes and inform Dr. Mali of these changes, we are then able to contact you immediately for an evaluation. Dr. Joshua Mali, one of The Eye Associates’ three Fellowship Trained Retina Specialists explains, “Today, retina specialists can prevent vision loss from getting worse or even help you get some of your vision back. But early diagnosis is critical.”
We are lucky that we live in an age of more treatments for wet AMD than ever before. Drugs such as Eylea, Lucentis, and Avastin have made a tremendous difference in the positive prognosis of Wet Macular Degeneration patients. All three of these injectable drugs are termed anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) medicines and shown to slow vision loss and even sometimes restore a degree of the lost vision in “wet” macular degeneration patients. These drugs work by blocking an essential signal that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow and leak. They are given at different intervals, according to each individual drug’s criteria and each patient’s unique clinical characteristics. They can also be used for other retinal conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusions.
Early detection is the key to preserving sight. Call 1-866-865-2020 or CLICK HERE if you would like make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam at The Eye Associates.