Macular Degeneration Research

View How Macular Degeneration May Affect Vision

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Normal Vision


In the beginning, our eyes function normally. The center of our vision is clear and crisp. 

Early Dry Macular Degeneration

early dry macular degeneration

In early dry macular degeneration, cells in the macula begin to sicken, and parts of the central vision become blurry. This may be difficult to notice at first, especially if the other eye is healthy, which can often hide the problems of the sick eye. Some people may find that they need more light to read, but otherwise may not notice problems with their vision. 

Intermediate Dry Macular Degeneration

intermediate dry macular degneration

As dry macular degeneration slowly progresses into an intermediate stage, the blurring gets worse, and the blurred area increases in size. Some blind spots (called scotomas “sko toe mas) may develop. The person may begin to have trouble telling the difference between similar colors, or shades of the same color.

Late Dry Macular Degeneration

late dry macular degeneration

In very late stage dry macular degeneration, macula cells begin to die, and large portions of the center of vision may become blurred. People at this stage may have blind spots as well as some areas that appear wavy or distorted. Not all dry macular degeneration will progress to wet macular degeneration, but when it does it often progresses much more quickly than the dry form.

Wet Macular Degeneration

early wet macular degeneration

In some people with dry macular degeneration, new blood vessels grow under the retina, forming “wet” macular degeneration. In the early stages of wet macular degeneration, these vessels may cause the retina to bulge or pucker. This results in distortion or “twisting” of vision. Think of how curved mirrors change the images they reflect. A bent or puckered macula also changes the way light hits the retina. When this happens, things that should appear straight start to bend or appear wavy.

Late Wet Macular Degeneration


In late wet macular degeneration, blood vessels push through the macula causing some to break, and leave scar tissue. The areas around the leak may break down resulting in severe blind spots and even more waviness or distortion. Wet macular degeneration gets worse much more quickly than dry macular degeneration.