Macular degeneration is classified as either dry or a wet form of the disease. Dry type is also known as non-neovascular or non-exudative macular degeneration. Wet type is also known as neovascular or exudative macular degeneration.
Neovascular means formation of new blood vessels, and at a place where they are not supposed to form or grow.
Which Is Worse, Dry Or Wet Macular Degeneration?
Out of the two, the wet type of macular degeneration is the worst and causes more serious vision loss, than the dry type of the disease.
Wet Macular Degeneration
This is a less common type, but a more serious one. Out of all the cases that are diagnosed for dry macular degeneration, almost 10% of the cases progress to the wet macular degeneration, which is a more advanced and serious form of the disease. In this type, new blood vessels growth occurs underneath the retina. As these new blood vessels are weak, they leak blood and fluid. Due to this leakage, the retina cells get damaged. As a result, the cells die off and this results in scarring and ultimately creates blind spots in the central vision. This may sometimes result in severe loss of central Vision.
Wet macular degeneration can be of two types-
In this type, the new blood vessels growth underneath the retina is not as clear. Also, the leakage is less seen in this form. Hence, the vision loss is not as severe.
In this type, the new blood vessels growth is more pronounced; and scarring is clearer. Also, the scarring is very clearly seen underneath the retina. This type results in more severe loss of the central vision.
Dry Macular Degeneration
- This is more common and less severe type out of the two. Almost 90% cases that are diagnosed for macular degeneration are of this type.
- This is an early stage of the disease and generally results due to the thinning of the macula due to degenerative changes in aging process.
- This may also be seen due to some pigment deposits in the macula.
- And this can be also seen as a combination of both of the above processes.
Signs and symptoms of macular degeneration are-
- There may not be symptoms present at the beginning. Sometimes, one fails to mark the symptoms as something unusual.
- The primary symptom is a painless and a very slow loss of vision.
- In very rare cases, a sudden loss of vision can be seen.
- Central vision may experience shadowy areas, or a fuzzy or an unusually distorted vision.
When one is asked to view an Amsler grid, which is a graph like pattern of black lines, the person may see distorted, wavy or blurred lines and a dark area in the center.
Most of eh times, the ophthalmologist may see early macular degeneration, during retinal exam carried out for some other eye problem, or during routine eye examination. If this is noticed, other advanced tests like fluorescein angiography, may be advised by the ophthalmologist, to check the blood vessels of the retina, which surround the macula.
Causes of macular degeneration are-
Though the most common cause is associated with aging changes, some researches also show that there might be a genetic influence over the condition. Further research is going on in this aspect.
- It is also seen more in females than in males.
- Also, it may be caused as a result of side effects caused by certain drugs.
- Smoking is also associated with the disease.
- High blood pressure and obesity are potential risk factors for the disease.
Wet macular degeneration is more serious as compared to the dry macular degeneration and can cause more serious loss of central vision. At present, there is no known cure for the disease, however, with certain measures, the further progress of the disease can be slowed down.
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