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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the difference between dry and wet Macular degeneration?

    What is the difference between dry and wet macular degeneration? I am starting to get older and having some issues with my eyes. A friend has told me it sounds like I may have wet macular degeneration, but I don't really understand the difference. Is there any treatment available?
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    Dr John H. Chang

    Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

    Dr John Chang is a Sydney-based ophthalmologist with specialist training in cataract surgery, medical retina and comprehensive ophthalmology. At his Strathfield practice, Dr Chang provides ... View Profile

    There are two types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Dry macular degeneration is the most common type of AMD and often the symptoms occur insidiously and the person may not even know that they have dry AMD in the early stages, whilst later on, they have gradual difficulty with reading. In dry AMD, there is slow “wear and tear” of the retinal cells at the macula and resultant gradual loss of the central vision. Although there is a lot of research being conducted in this field, currently there is no effective treatment available for dry macular degeneration. In contrast, wet macular degeneration can present more acutely and when detected early, it is very treatable with the often excellent visual outcome. Symptoms of wet AMD include acute onset of central dark shadow or distortion. Eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist using specialized equipment would confirm the presence of bleeding or fluid at the macula which signifies wet AMD. Wet macular degeneration should be treated urgently by an ophthalmologist. Currently, the best treatments are via drugs that are delivered into the eye as “intravitreal injections”. Such medications include “Avastin”, “Lucentis” and “Eylea”. An ophthalmologist can explain the various treatment options and offer what is best for a particular patient.

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