Age-related macular degeneration in 2019

By Jared Knickelbein, MD, PhD on Mar 25, 2019 12:00:00 PM

AMDAge-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a very common condition that can result in profound central vision loss. As the name implies, AMD affects older individuals typically over the age of 50 and is a leading cause of central vision loss in the elderly. AMD is divided into two major categories: non-neovascular (dry) and neovascular (wet). Approximately 80 percent of total AMD cases are dry; however, wet disease accounts for roughly 90 percent of severe central vision loss in patients with AMD. Therefore, it is essential to promptly diagnose and treat wet AMD before scar tissue forms to avoid permanent vision loss. I am often asked by patients, “Which form of AMD is worse, wet or dry?” To answer this question, it is more appropriate to think about AMD in terms of stages: early, intermediate and late (advanced), as opposed to simply dry or wet. The disease starts in the dry form, and remains dry through the early and intermediate stages. Late stages can be either advanced dry or wet, both of which can cause significant vision loss. However, progression of dry AMD is often insidious, whereas wet AMD can present with sudden central vision loss.

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