Q: What are the different forms of age-related macular degeneration [A.M.D.]?

A: The dry form of A.M.D. comprises 80-90% of cases. This is a slow, "wear and tear" of the macula which is responsible for central vision. Fortunately, most patients with dry A.M.D. retain useful vision. Wet A.M.D. is responsible for 10-20% of cases. Abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula, leaking serum & sometimes blood. Severe vision loss can result if not detected quickly & properly treated. Risk factors other than age for developing wet A.M.D. include light skin, light-colored eyes, hypertension, & smoking. Anyone over the age of 50 should have an annual dilated eye exam & see their eye doctor immediately if they begin to notice any changes in their vision.