Wet Macular Degeneration
Wet (neovascular or exudative) macular degeneration accounts for approximately 10 percent of the cases of age-related macular degeneration. However, it results in 90 percent of the cases of legal blindness. All wet macular degeneration is considered advanced.
Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow behind the macula as retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) and photoreceptor cells die.
- The Bruch's membrane begins to break down, usually near drusen deposits, and new blood vessels grow.
- This growth is called neovascularization. These vessels are very fragile and can leak fluid and blood.
- The leaks result in scarring of the macula and the potential for rapid, severe damage.
- Straight-ahead vision can become distorted or lost entirely in a short period of time, sometimes within days or weeks.