There are several varieties of Macular Degeneration. The most common are called “dry” or “wet”. There are also other macular diseases such as macular cysts or holes. Each of these diseases results on much the same consequences in terms of functional vision – a loss of central vision.
The macula is a small central area of the retina. It is responsible for our sharpest clearest vision and the perception of color. The reason we turn our eyes to look at an item is because we are aiming our macula at the item to see it more clearly. When the macula is damaged and we aim our eyes at an object the image disappears or seems distorted or colorless.
The basic difference between dry and wet macular degeneration is that the dry kind progresses slowly and cannot be treated. It is basically a development of scars in the area of the macula.
Wet macular degeneration is when blood vessels in the macula are leaking fluid or bleeding. This causes a much quicker loss of vision but the effects can often be reversed or kept stable by use of injections in the eye. These injections basically dry up the fluid that should not be there. Over time wet macular degeneration may stabilize with treatment or may become worse progressively. Most macular degeneration is the result of aging or is familial. A type called Stargardts disease occurs in young people.