Macular Degeneration FAQs

Which is more common – the dry form or the wet form?

The dry form is much more common. More than 85 percent of all cases of AMD are of the dry form. However, if only advanced AMD is considered, about two-thirds of patients have the wet form. Because almost all vision loss comes from advanced AMD, the wet form leads to significantly more vision loss than the dry form.

Can the dry form turn into the wet form?

Yes. All people who have the wet form had the dry form first. The dry form can advance and cause vision loss without turning into the wet form. The dry form also can suddenly turn into the wet form, even during early stage AMD. There is no way to tell if or when the dry form will turn into the wet form. People who have advanced AMD in one eye are at especially high risk of developing advanced AMD in the other eye.
Who is at risk for AMD?

The greatest risk factor is age. Although AMD may occur during middle age, studies show that people over age 60 are clearly at greater risk than other age groups. For instance, a large study found that people in middle-age have about a 2 percent risk of getting AMD, but this risk increased to nearly 30 percent in those over age 75.

Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking. Smoking may increase the risk of AMD.
  • Obesity. Research studies suggest a link between obesity and the progression of early and intermediate stage AMD to advanced AMD.
  • Race. Whites are much more likely to lose vision from AMD than African Americans.
  • Family history. Those with immediate family members who have AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Gender. Women appear to be at greater risk than men.

Can one’s lifestyle make a difference?

Your lifestyle can play a role in reducing your risk of developing AMD.

  • Eat a healthy diet high in green leafy vegetables and fish.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Maintain normal blood pressure.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Exercise.
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