Symptoms of Macular Degeneration: Wet vs Dry

symptoms of macular degenerationMacular degeneration refers to vision loss in the central visual field. It most often occurs in older adults and damage to the retina is the cause of the symptoms of macular degeneration. There are two types of AMD with the most common being dry macular degeneration.

This particular condition is caused from a variety of factors. An accumulation of microscopic debris fragments between the choroid and retina is one potential cause, and retinal detachment is another. Regardless of source, there are tell tale symptoms of macular degeneration that are unique to the dry form, and there are also those that are shared with the other variant.

Early signs of dry AMD include needing more light when reading or working and also having a hard time adjusting to lower levels of light or dim lighting. Additionally, noticeable changes in brightness (that can become more evident when reading) are also considered symptoms of macular degeneration. Progressive signs include slow increases in the amount of perceptible blurriness and haziness in your field of vision which can decrease overall visual acuity. Additionally, a pronounced blurred or blind spot in the center of your field of vision are also considered obvious symptoms of macular degeneration as is sight that seems crooked or off center.

Wet macular degeneration is less common, but considered more severe than the dry form. Some of the characteristics of this form of the condition are similar to those found in dry AMD, however some are unique to the wet variation. For starters, the causes are different and some are unknown. One potential cause is unusual growth of blood vessels that can enter the macular part of the retina; another has to do with fluid that is in the back of the eye and its collection and buildup. Regardless of source, known or unknown, the symptoms of macular degeneration in the wet form are similar yet different to those of the dry variant. While certain traits such as decreased vision; hallucinations of shapes and people and animals; or a central blurry spot, are similar to the symptoms of macular degeneration, other signs are exclusive to this more severe form such as worsening of the condition that is quick, as opposed to the slower progression often experienced with the dry form. Additionally, some people may experience sudden onset of the symptoms of macular degeneration, a phenomenon not experienced by sufferers of the dry form who experience a more gradual onset of symptoms.

As the conditions have differences in characteristics and manifestations, macular degeneration treatment can vary as well. For instance, there are treatment options, such as injections, that exist only for the wet form of AMD that are not used for the dry version. However, there are some treatment options that are similar. For instance, macular degeneration vitamins therapy includes dietary changes and supplements that boost levels of vitamins and minerals essential to eye health and vision such as beta carotene and copper, under doctor supervised intake. Surgery is also another treatment tool that can be employed. Symptom control can be found in many lifestyle remedies such as magnified glasses for macular degeneration or biofeedback, although they are not useful for treatment, merely symptom relief.

Both conditions are similar yet different as the way they affect the afflicted and the way they are treated can vary. However, with medical treatment, support and lifestyle changes, the progression of the disease can be reduced somewhat, allowing the best available vision for the sufferer in light of their illness.

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