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Wet macular degeneration is a chronic, degenerative condition characterized by abnormal blood vessels that grow underneath the retina. The condition gets worse as these faulty blood vessels leak fluid in the back of the eye. This may lead to swelling and damage of the macula, the part of the retina that lets you see color and maintain sharp vision.1  

A healthy retina is a dry retina.2 If this fluid isn’t controlled, central vision will gradually get worse, leading to difficulty doing everyday activities such as reading, recognizing faces and driving.1

Picture:  O.C.T. scan with no visible retinal fluid

The leaky blood vessels are caused by an excess of a tiny protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).3 Most doctors agree that the best way to control these tiny proteins is with an anti-VEGF treatment.4 Treatments that help control fluid and stop blood vessels from leaking may slow the progression of wet macular degeneration. 

To monitor the progression of wet macular degeneration, your doctor may ask you to keep track of your own vision using a black and white grid called an “Amsler” grid.1

Amsler grid with wavy blurry spot in center demonstrating vision with wet AMD

Amsler grid reflecting vision with wet macular degeneration

Your doctor may also ask you to make an appointment for an OCT scan. OCT, or optical coherence tomography, is a common, non-invasive imaging technique, similar to photography, that is used to detect fluid in the retina.1 

Picture: Illustration of anatomy of an eye with wet AMD, identifying the lens, retina, abnormal leaky blood vessels and increased VEGF-A

OCT image of eye with wet macular degeneration

Regular monitoring is extremely important because wet macular degeneration can cause severe vision loss over a short period of time5. Once you have Wet AMD in one eye, the chances of it developing in your other eye are increased.1 With a chronic condition like wet macular degeneration, it is also critical to keep your scheduled eye care appointments.

For more information about how patients and caregivers can track the progression of wet macular degeneration between treatments, click here.


National Eye Institute. Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Available at Access July 2019.

Arnold J et al. The role of sub-retinal fluid in determining treatment outcomes in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration--a phase IV randomized clinical trial with ranibizumab: the FLUID study. BMC Ophthalmol. 2016;143(4):679-680.

Kim R. Introduction, mechanism of action and rationale for anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs in age-related macular degeneration. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2007;55(6):413-415.

Gehrs KM, Anderson DH, Johnson LV, and Hageman GS. Age-related macular degeneration—emerging pathogenetic and therapeutic concepts. Ann Med. 2006;38:450-471.

Mowatt G et al. Optical coherence tomography for the diagnosis, monitoring, and guiding of treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review and economic evaluation. Health Technol Assess 2014;18(69)

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