Do you know the difference between wet and dry AMD?

Posted: Monday 19 August 2019

People diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) will be told if their condition is ‘wet’ or ‘dry’.

This distinction affects whether the condition can be treated or not, its progression, and how you need to monitor it. But we know that people are often left confused by their diagnosis and what it means.

But, do you know the difference between the two? Here we explain more.

What is ‘wet’ AMD?

Wet AMD is caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the part of the retina called the macula. People with wet AMD will often experience sudden changes in their vision. There are treatments available for wet AMD, and NICE guidelines state that treatment should be given within two weeks of your first appointment (see page 26 for more details on NICE guidelines). Treatment is primarily an injection into the eye of drugs that will suppress the abnormal growth of blood vessels. However, these treatments are designed to stop your vision loss getting any worse, not to recover already lost vision – this is why it is important to receive treatment as soon as possible.

Different drugs will have different treatment regimens, and it’s important to ask your doctor which you are on so that you can keep track of appointments and chase any that are required.

You may be told, following treatment, that your AMD has ‘gone dry’ – this does not mean that you now have the dry type. This means that the blood vessel growth that was causing your wet AMD is stable and under control. You should continue to monitor for any changes and ask for an urgent referral back to your ophthalmologist if any occur, as further treatment may be required.

You can find out more about wet AMD and its treatments on our website. 

What is ‘dry’ AMD?

Dry AMD is a gradual deterioration of the macula as the retinal cells die off and are not renewed. The term dry does not mean the person has dry eyes