As many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of age-related macular degeneration. This number is expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050.

There are two forms of AMD. A dry form and a wet form. Dry form is the most common form of AMD. About 75% to 80% of AMD patients have the dry form. There are deposits beneath the retina of your eye, which is what causes your vision to be affected. In the case where it changes from the dry to the wet form, which can't be predicted if ever to occur, eye doctors aren't fully aware of the reasons as to why it would do so, but the reason they call it wet is because either fluid or blood start to accumulate due to a disruption of these deposits. That's where you get more visual changes, since it's a fluid underneath the retina rather than just small deposits causing disruptions within the retina.

How does dry AMD affect vision?

You can have varying degrees of even dry macular degeneration depending on how many deposits are under the retina, specifically at the macula. Some people with dry macular degeneration have minimal vision changes. They still see 20/20, they don't really see any significant change in their vision, but as it progresses, if it happens, they can still sustain significant vision loss.

What are the treatment options for dry AMD?

People with AMD tend to have the dry form at first. That's why eye doctors monitor so closely to see if anything changes. If it develops into what is known as wet macular degeneration, then there are options for treatment. Though it's not a cure, it does halt or stop the flow of the fluid underneath the retina. The goal is to keep the vision from deteriorating further. Whereas there is no formal treatment for the dry form. Vitamins that specifically strengthen or stabilize that macula are generally recommended by the eye doctors, and they have been shown in major studies to be effective. Whenever we see the earliest signs of macular degeneration we always recommend what are called AREDS2 supplements, which is the name of the study that documented the efficacy of these antioxidants, Age Related Eye Disease Study 2. The main components areLutein and Zeaxanthin, which are beta carotenes. Because they are in high concentration at the macula, the more we have, the more they stabilize the macula for the dry form. While found naturally in leafy greens and certain foods, it is largely lacking in a major way in western diets.

Visit a eye center at an Amplify EyeCare practice near you:


Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

Learn More