What is Macular Degeneration?


This week is Macular Degeneration Awareness week, so we are running a series of posts on the subject. For more information please visit http://www.mdnz.org.nz/

There are two types of macular degeneration – dry and wet.

Dry MD

Dry MD is the most common variant, resulting in a gradual loss of central vision. It sometimes progresses into a wet form of the disease.

There are three general stages of Dry MD. The first stage is the presence of drusen. Drusen manifests as small yellow deposits that build up under the retina. They’re easily detected during an eye examination even while your vision remains unaffected.

Intermediate dry MD occurs when one or more large drusen are present. This commonly leads to blurred vision and a need for more light to read. Vision may be mildly distorted and an early central blind spot may develop.

Advanced dry MD (also known as geographic atrophy) occurs when there is a significant loss of retinal pigment and leads to a large central blind spot (or scotoma). This makes reading almost impossible and requires people to rely on their peripheral vision, which remains intact.

A short animation on Dry MD can be found here: AMD: Dry

Wet MD

Wet MD is very serious and requires immediate medical treatment. It is characterised by a sudden and severe loss of vision caused by abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina.

A short animation on Wet MD can be found here:AMD: Wet