There are two types of Macular Degeneration commonly called Wet Macular Degeneration and Dry Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Wet AMD is called wet because it is characterized by new abnormal leaky blood vessels that grow underneath The Retina in the choroids.
You may also hear wet AMD called subretinal net, subretinal neovascularization (SRNV), or choroidal neovascularization (CNV).
Subretinal means underneath the Retina or underneath the PRE, and neovascularization simply means new vessels.
Wet Macular Degeneration may also be referred to as exudative degeneration.
Exudative means seeping or bleeding, referring to these abnormal blood vessels.
We don’t know why these abnormal blood vessels grow. They grow from the choroid through Bruch’s membrane, which is not supposed to allow such a thing, and collect under the RPE like tree roots under a sidewalk.
The walls of these vessels are weak and they tend to leak clear fluid (like the fluid that accumulates when something swells up in the body) and flood.
These liquids seep through the surrounding tissue flooding the cone cells of the macula and either suffocating them or triggering changes that result in their death.
Very late – stage wet macular degeneration is sometimes called disciform degeneration.
Although this refers to the disc-shaped scars that result after bleeding occurs, disciform degeneration is generally used to simply refer to extensive or late stage degeneration.
If these vessels leak enough, they may lift the PRE away from Bruch’s membrane, creating a sort of blister between the two layers that permanently destroys the conveyor belt system in that particular area.
This condition is called a serous pigment epithelial detachment, or PED.
A PED is sometimes referred to in patient information pamphlets as a third type of Macular Degeneration, but it is a possible development in wet macular degeneration.
Your ophthalmologist may be able to detect the presence of these abnormal blood vessels, because they sometime give the affected area of your retina a muted gray-green color.
But to define the precise size and shape of these vessels, and angiogram is necessary.
Having an angiogram involves having dye injected into your arm. This dye travels throughout your bloodstream, making all of your blood, including the blood in those abnormal vessels, glow for the camera.
Wet age related macular degeneration may catch you off-guard if you don’t see your eye doctor for a checkup every two years.
Early signs of AMD are easily detectable to your doctor before you Loss of Vision.
However, since AMD progresses painlessly and silently and our eyes are delighted to compensate for each other, some folks lose vision from Macular Degeneration without realizing that they have.
If you have been told that you have early stage macular degeneration,
you should monitor your vision by using an Amsler grid.
This is important because many of the medical treatments we have target Wet AMD and require immediate treatment when blood vessels are forming under the macula.
Since blood vessel growth in the macula is painless, you may not know it has happened unless you monitor your vision.
In any case, see your eye doctor every two years and if you ever notice changes in your vision call him or her immediately.