The macula is a small but important part of the retina. It is responsible for central vision and allows you to see fine details, colors, and objects directly in front of you. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) happens when the macula is damaged.
Wet AMD is one of the two types of age-related macular degeneration. The other type is dry AMD, which affects about 90% of people with AMD. Wet macular degeneration is less common but much more serious. Early detection and treatment of wet AMD may help prevent vision loss and, in some cases, recover vision.
What is Wet AMD?
Wet macular degeneration is an eye disease caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels under the retina. The blood vessels may leak blood or fluid into the macula, interfering with the retina’s function and causing rapid vision loss or distortion.
A healthy macula is flat. Blood or fluid that leaks into the area may cause a bulge in your retina or the formation of scar tissue. That damages your central vision and makes it hard to read, write, see faces directly in front of you, or do other daily tasks.
You’re at risk of wet AMD if you:
- Are 50 years or older
- Have dry AMD
- Are overweight
- Have a family history of AMD
- Are Caucasian
- Smoke cigarettes
- Have cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure
Symptoms of Wet AMD
Wet macular degeneration symptoms can develop very suddenly and worsen rapidly. This is why it’s important to have regular eye exams so your ophthalmologist can detect early signs of AMD before you develop serious vision problems.
Symptoms may include:
- Distorted vision, such as straight lines appearing wavy
- Dark spots in the center of your vision
- Colors can look washed or faded out
- Objects can appear to be the wrong shape or size
- The need for brighter light when doing close-up work
- Not being able to see fine details
- Difficulty recognizing faces
Wet AMD Diagnosis and Treatment
During an eye exam, your eye doctor will talk to you about your health history as well as your family’s eye health history. Your comprehensive eye exam may include:
- Amsler grid to help you notice any distorted, blurry, or dark spots in your field of vision.
- Dilating eye drops to widen your pupil and allow the ophthalmologist to clearly see the back of the eye.
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT) to provide detailed images of the macula and retina.
- Fluorescein angiography to show if abnormal blood vessels are growing under the retina.
- Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) to analyze blood vessels in and around the retina.
- Glaucoma screening to measure your eye fluid pressure.
While wet AMD has no cure, there are treatments to help slow disease progression and prevent your vision from getting worse. And if started early enough, treatment may help recover some lost vision. Treatment may involve anti-VEGF drugs, nutritional supplements, photodynamic therapy, and laser surgery.
Get Help with Your Eyes Today
Early detection and treatment of wet macular degeneration will help preserve as much eyesight as possible, prevent further vision problems, and improve your quality of life. At Valley Eyecare Center, we use advanced diagnostic tools to assess wet AMD and offer a range of treatment options. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!