types of macular degeneration

Types of Macular Degeneration: Wet & Dry AMD

Types of Macular Degeneration: Wet & Dry AMD at Center for Sight serving Fall River, Massachusetts and greater Providence, Rhode Island

By Robert Kelly, M.D.

Today, at Center for Sight in Fall River, we know that there are two types of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD):

  • “Dry” Macular Degeneration
  • “Wet” Macular Degeneration

Dry Macular Degeneration
Dry AMDDry Macular Degeneration, also called Atrophic Macular Degeneration, is the most common type of Age Related Macular Degeneration. Dry Macular Degeneration makes up approximately 85-90% of cases of Macular Degeneration. If you have Dry Macular Degeneration, during the examination of your Retina, the Center for Sight eye doctors will see small, yellow colored deposits between the retinal layers, which are called Drusen. Dry Macular Degeneration results in a slow, gradual progressive “dimming” of your central vision. 

Many people 50 years of age or older begin to display some Drusen as they age.  Drusen are not a direct problem for your vision unless they are large or confluent.  If you have Drusen, your doctor may ask you to schedule eye examinations more frequently in order to monitor them, as there is some possibility that Dry Macular Degeneration will progress to Wet Macular Degeneration over a period of time.  Thus people with Dry Macular Degeneration, even without any noticeable change in vision, need to be followed closely as Wet Macular Degeneration has far more serious consequences for vision loss. 


Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet AMDWet Macular Degeneration is far more likely to cause serious vision loss than Dry Macular Degeneration.  Fortunately, it only accounts for about 10-15% of cases of Macular Degeneration.  Wet Macular Degeneration is characterized by an abnormal growth of new blood vessel under the retina.  These new blood vessels are called “neovascularization”.  Neovascularization is not made up of “normal” blood vessels in that they are unusually weak in their structure.  In fact, they are quite fragile and are prone to be leaky and can easily break and bleed.  If leakage occurs, the Macula may actually begin to swell.  If the new blood vessels break and bleeding occurs, it can result in scarring as it heals.  Scarring of the Macula can cause a sudden, rapid and severe loss of central vision, which is irreversible.

Macular Degeneration is a complex eye disease. Fortunately with early diagnosis it is possible to have a number of treatment options available to help preserve your vision.


If you, a family member or friend have not had a recent eye examination or if you feel that you may be at risk for Macular Degeneration or wish to learn more about the types of macular degeneration such as Wet AMD and Dry AMD, please schedule an appointment by calling Center for Sight in Fall River, Massachusetts at 508-730-2020.

Center for Sight is conveniently located for Macular Degeneration (AMD) patients who wish to learn more about the causes of Macular Degeneration (AMD) in Massachusetts or Rhode Island from Attleboro, Fairhaven, Fall River, Franklin, Mansfield, Marion, Mattapoisett, Medfield, Milford, New Bedford, North Attleboro, North Dartmouth, Norton, Oxford, Rehoboth, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Walpole, Whitinsville, Woonsocket, Providence, Smithfield, Westport, Lakeville, Dighton, Little Compton and Tiverton.