Although wet macular degeneration is less common than its dry counterpart, at approximately 10-15% of all diagnosed age-related macular degeneration (AMD) cases, it is the most severe form of the two. With roughly 90% of blindness from AMD stemming from this type, it is very important to know the basic information about this eye disease.
What Happens Inside?
In wet macular degeneration, the retina and macula of the eyes becomes host to abnormal blood vessels, which are called choroidal neovascularization in medical terms. When these blood vessels bleed and eventually leak fluid, the macula bulges to the point where centrals vision rapidly deteriorates, even destroyed.
What Happens Outside?
With the bulging macula, patients suffer from the dark spot, or in some cases, multiple dark spots, in the center of their vision. In effect, you will have progressive difficulty in performing daily activities that need fine vision such as reading and driving.
Unfortunately, that is not all that happens with this type of AMD as straight lines will appear wavy. On the brighter side, if one is forced to be optimistic about it, you probably will not lose peripheral vision so that you can still detect some forms of light.
Genetics, Environment or Age?
In wet macular degeneration, as it is in its dry form, genetics plays a significant factor in the risk for contracting the disease. Thus, it is important to consult the doctor on a regular basis for check-ups when one or both your parents have it.
However, studies have shown that the environment plays a big role, too. Thus, it is highly recommended that a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and green leafy vegetables, regular exercise and abstaining from alcohol and smoking be followed in order to lessen the risk of this eye disease.
As much as taking care of your eyes from the inside is important, it is also vital that outside protection be adopted. Thus, wearing UVA and UVB sunglasses for UV protection is highly recommended. Ask your optometrist whether you are more suited to polarized or non-polarized sunglasses for sun protection.
On a related note, there are unsubstantiated reports that sunglasses with amber or yellow tints help patients to see more clearly. You can try this out and see what happens. The important thing is that living with macular degeneration can be made more bearable.
Of course, contracting the disease is highly age-related. This is especially true for those older persons who have developed drusen and pigmentary changes, which can increase their risks by as much as 50%.
What Are the Viable Treatments?
Fortunately, there are viable treatments for the wet type. These treatments range from laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, macular translocation surgery, vascular endothelial growth factor antagonists, and implantable optical devices.
In all these treatments for macular degeneration, it is important that expert medical care is provided every step of the way. Of course, this can only be had from an ophthalmologist, not an optometrist. Be very careful to distinguish the two as to cure
wet macular degeneration is to get your vision, and therefore, your life back. Only one will be able to do just that and only then will you be able to see the world through new eyes, literally.