Understanding Wet AMD

Whether you have just been diagnosed with Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Wet AMD) or have been living with your condition for years, here are information and tools to help you understand your condition.

Julie S.
Eye Matter Ambassador
“There is no cure for Wet AMD, but I am hopeful advancements in treatment options will continue to be made. To this end, we all need to be persistent. I would like to encourage you to become active in your healthcare. The possibilities are there for you; my wish is that you persevere in your commitments. When it comes to our vision, I think Norman Vincent Peale said it best: “Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities. Always see them, for they’re always there.”
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1/What is Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Wet AMD)?1,2

Wet AMD is a retinal disease that affects the macula and often appears in people as they age. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. Wet AMD happens when there is abnormal growth of and leakage from blood vessels under the macula, hence the disease being called “Wet” AMD. The leaking blood and fluid damages and scars the macula, which can affect your vision.

2/Risk factors for Wet AMD include:2
  • Dry AMD
  • Age 50 years or older
  • Family history of Wet AMD
  • Female Gender
  • Obesity
  • Caucasian Race
  • Smoking
3/How does Wet AMD affect vision?1,3,4

Common symptoms include blurriness in the center of your vision, blind spots or patches, straight lines that look wavy, or colors that look dull or washed out. In addition, objects may seem farther away than they really are. These symptoms may affect your ability to read, write, drive, and recognize faces. You can experience what these symptoms look like here.

4/How is Wet AMD diagnosed?1

A dilated eye exam is a common test that may be used to diagnose Wet AMD. During the exam, a doctor dilates (widens) the pupil using eye drops. He or she can then better see the back of the eye, including the retina, and look for signs of problems. Learn more about the other eye exams your doctor may conduct.

5/What are the treatment options for Wet AMD?1,5

The good news is there are treatment options that may help protect against vision loss caused by Wet AMD. If you are experiencing symptoms of Wet AMD, make an appointment to speak with your eye doctor today to discuss how you can help protect your vision.

The most common types of treatments are anti-VEGF drugs and laser therapy.

Anti-VEGF Drugs1,5 Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a naturally occurring protein in the body that is produced at abnormally high levels in Wet AMD and other types of retinal diseases. Anti-VEGF drugs bind to the protein and help keep blood vessels in the eye from leaking fluid. Anti-VEGF drugs are administered by injection in the eye.

Laser Therapy1,5 Laser photocoagulation, a treatment that has been used for some time to treat Wet AMD, uses a beam of light to seal off or destroy leaking vessels and reduce macular edema.

6/Monitor your vision between appointments
Did You Know?
You can take control of monitoring your eye health by using the Amsler Grid test.
Image of an Amsler Grid without retinal disease

Amsler Grid
without retinal disease

Image of Potential Amsler Grid with Wet AMD

Example Amsler Grid
with

Even with regular eye exams, Wet AMD can get worse.6 It is important to check your vision between appointments. Download your Amsler Grid to check for any problem areas in your vision at home.

Sandy S.
Eye Matter Ambassador
“I use my Amsler grid 3 to 4 times a week. I keep one in my purse and one on the refrigerator—it’s magnetized. I use the one in my purse all the time, and I make all my friends look at it to test their eyes. I’m sure people think I’m crazy when I make my friends cover one eye, then the other, and stare at a piece of paper, but early detection is so important!”
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7/Questions to ask your doctor

Take control of your condition by downloading an Appointment Guide below. It contains a list of questions to consider asking your doctor at your next appointment. Some of the questions are general, while others focus on your treatment options.

And don’t forget: if there’s anything you don’t understand, ask your doctor for an explanation.

Click here to download or email yourself
an Appointment Guide to help you get
the most out of your next visit to
your eye doctor.

For more resources, head over to the Resources & Tools page.

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Health information contained herein is provided for general education purposes only. Your healthcare professional is the best source of information regarding your health. Please consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your health or any treatment options.
References:
  1. Facts about age-related macular degeneration. National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute Web site. http://bit.ly/1dBK8yC. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  2. Risk factors for macular degeneration. Macular Degeneration Partnership Web site. http://bit.ly/2fotxm1. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  3. Macular degeneration: understanding your disease – signs & symptoms. BrightFocus Foundation Web site. http://bit.ly/2zR6qcv. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  4. Macular degeneration. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) Web site. http://bit.ly/2eR0VBX. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  5. Macular degeneration treatment: how is AMD treated? American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO EyeSmart) Web site. http://bit.ly/2uJcUHA. Accessed November 17, 2017.
  6. Symptoms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and how it is diagnosed. American Foundation for the Blind, VisionAware Web site. http://bit.ly/2fB5nGl. Accessed November 17, 2017.
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