Wet macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease. It affects the macula which is in the center of the retina. The macula is actually a layer of tissue on the back wall of the eyeball from the inside. This chronic eye disease can cause loss of vision in the center of the vision field. It generally occurs because of fluid leakage from abnormal blood vessels in the area of the macula. Wet macular degeneration is one of the two types of macular degenerations that exist. The other one is dry macular degeneration. The wet type generally always begins as a dry macular degeneration. It is not known what exactly brings to wet macular degeneration. It is rarer than the dry type, but also more severe as it can result in total vision loss in the center of the eye which is important for clear and direct sight as for instance recognizing shapes and faces. An early diagnosis is very important, because the degeneration cannot be reverse, but it can help the progression to result in complete loss or help the vision to improve.
The symptoms of wet macular degeneration appear suddenly and progress quickly. They can be:
- Bad central vision
- Worsen brightness or intensity of colours
- Distorted vision (straight lines appear wavy or twisted; objects appear smaller or further than they really are)
- Worsening of the condition quickly
- Precise blurred spot or blind spot in the vision field
- Hallucinations of shapes, animals or people if the case is advanced
It is recommendable a person to visit a doctor if he/she experiences difficulties to distinguish colours or details or similar vision changes, especially if the person is older than 50.
The cause of wet macular degeneration is unfamiliar. The condition usually develops from dry macular degeneration. Doctors cannot predict who will develop either of the degenerations and whether the dry macular degeneration will progress into the more severe type, the wet macular degeneration, that progresses very quickly unfortunately.
The wet macular degeneration can develop when:
- The abnormal blood vessels that grow from the choroid under or into the macular part of the retina can leak fluid or blood between the choroid and the macula. The fluid stops the retina from functioning properly and brings to blurred vision what makes the straight lines look curvy and blank spots block part of the vision field.
- Fluid leak sometimes accumulates between the choroid and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and causes the bump-looking part under the macula. This may cause RPE detachment
The factors that increase the risk are:
- Age-affects people older than 50
- Race-it is more common in Caucasians
- Family history-greater risk if there has been a macular degeneration case in the family
- Poor diet (without plenty of fruit, vegetables and healthy food)
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular diseases
Unfortunately, this condition cannot be cured, but if it is diagnosed early, the treatment helps to slow the progression of the distortion as well as diminish the amount of the vision that can be lost.
The treatment can include medications, photodynamic therapy or photocoagulation.
There are also plenty of so called home remedies that a person with wet macular degeneration should take into account as self-measures that help the process:
- Check the eyeglasses
- Use magnifiers
- Change displays and add audio systems
- Select specially-made-for-low-vision appliances
- Another alternatives for books, for example, tablets or audio books
- Brighter lights at home
- Caution when driving or use other travel means
- Talk to a counselor or support group
Preventative measures that can help are as follows:
- Regular routine eye checks
- Deal with other possible medical condition as instructed
- Quit smoking
- Go on a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and include fish and walnuts in the meals as they contain omega3 fatty oils
- Exercise often