Wet macular degeneration (Wet AMD) is a chronic eye disorder that causes blurred vision or a blind spot in your visual field. It's generally caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into the macula (MAK-u-luh). The macula is in the part of the retina responsible for central vision.
Wet macular degeneration is one of two types of age-related macular degeneration. The other type — dry macular degeneration — is more common and less severe. The wet type always begins as the dry type.
Early detection and treatment of wet macular degeneration may help reduce vision loss and, in some instances, recover vision.
Wet macular degeneration symptoms usually appear suddenly and worsen rapidly.
They may include:
Macular degeneration doesn't affect side (peripheral) vision, so it rarely causes total blindness.
See your eye doctor if:
These changes may be the first indication of macular degeneration, particularly if you're older than age 50.
Wet macular degeneration can develop in different ways:
Factors that may increase your risk of macular degeneration include:
People whose wet macular degeneration has progressed to central vision loss have a higher risk of depression and social isolation. With profound loss of vision, people may see visual hallucinations (Charles Bonnet syndrome).
It's important to have routine eye exams to identify early signs of macular degeneration.
The following measures may help reduce your risk of developing wet macular degeneration:
Treatments are available that may help slow disease progression, preserve existing vision and, if started early enough, recover some lost vision.
Medications may help stop the growth of new blood vessels by blocking the effects of growth signals the body sends to generate new blood vessels. These drugs are considered the first line treatment for all stages of wet macular degeneration.
Medications used to treat wet macular degeneration include:
Your doctor injects these medications into the affected eye. You may need injections every four weeks to maintain the beneficial effect of the medication. In some instances, you may partially recover vision as the blood vessels shrink and the fluid under the retina absorbs, allowing retinal cells to regain some function.
Possible risks of eye injections include conjunctival hemorrhage, eye pain, floaters, increased eye pressure, infection and eye inflammation. Some of these medications may increase the risk of stroke.