Dry Macular Degeneration: What Is It?  

There’s more than one type of macular degeneration that can occur with age: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is characterized by a gradual thinning of a part of the retina called the macula. This part of your eye is responsible for clear vision when you’re looking straight ahead. Here, we’ll take a look at how dry and wet macular degeneration are different, the symptoms of dry macular degeneration, and what you should do if you think you may be suffering from dry macular degeneration.

Wet Vs. Dry Macular Degeneration: How Are They Different?

Dry macular degeneration is more common than the wet variety. While dry macular degeneration occurs due to a thinning macula, wet macular degeneration is caused by leaky blood vessels underneath the retina. Over time, some people with dry macular degeneration eventually progress to the wet version of the condition. Wet macular degeneration is more likely to cause severe vision loss than the dry variety.

Dry Macular Degeneration Symptoms

Dry macular degeneration is a progressive disease that gets worse over time. Symptoms may be few and mild at the start and may progress to more serious and noticeable symptoms as time goes on.

Common symptoms of dry macular degeneration include:

  • Reduced vision in one or both eyes, especially when looking straight ahead (dry macular degeneration does not affect peripheral vision)
  • Struggling to adjust to reading or seeing other materials in low light, the need for increased light in order to perform tasks
  • A noticeable blind spot in your forward vision
  • Struggling to recognize faces, even of people who are familiar to you
  • Lowered intensity of colors

This condition may occur in just one eye, rather than in both eyes. When dry macular degeneration only occurs in one eye, symptoms may be less noticeable.

What To Do Next If You Have Dry Macular Degeneration Symptoms

The good news: if you notice symptoms of dry macular degeneration, there’s no need to panic. With early detection, vision loss can be delayed, and there are self-care options that you can use to help delay the process even longer.

If you think that you may have dry macular degeneration, it’s important that you talk with your eye doctor to learn whether you have the condition, as well as what you can do to slow the vision loss process. After your diagnosis, you’ll need to keep your regular eye appointments so that your eye doctor can monitor your condition and make any necessary adjustments to your care plan.