Macular Degeneration: When Does Dry become Wet?

Macular Degeneration: When Does Dry become Wet?

I do not understand what my Bio is and therefore cannot supply. I have been diagnosed with Macular Generation in both eyes. My mother suffered from Macular Generation so presumably it is genetic but in addition I was a very heavy smoker until 1999.

I have been advised that in the event of dramatic change in my sight, I should go straight to my local hospital, where I will be given an injection in my eye. The problem is what is the actual dramatic change. I am using the Amsler Grid and note that some of the lines are wavy and perhaps this is getting worse. When is the Dry condition turning to Wet, or how bad must it be to go for the injection. Can you please advise.

9 Replies

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  • Hi...I'm sorry to hear of your condition; my own (unprofessional) advice would be to go straight to your local eye clinic for assessment. It was seeing wavy lines (pretty alarming in itself!) that first alerted me to something being wrong and, after an immediate appointment at the eye clinic, Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration was diagnosed and treatment started there and then. It is important to move quickly if it's the wet form of AMD; otherwise irreparable damage can result. It is daunting, I know, but there is help out there. I find the website for the Macular Society a great help for practical information. I'm sorry I don't know anything much about the dry form of AMD, but it seems the one does not preclude the other and the wet form can be fast-moving, hence the importance of a proper assessment. Best wishes for moving forward.

  • Hi - Did you see the wavy lines without using the Amsler Grid or was that when the problem became apparent?

    We do not have an eye clinic here. I had seen the wavy lines on the Amsler Grid before visiting the Ophthalmology Dept. in the hospital. They made all of the measurements and were able to actually see the level of degeneration but told me to come back if there was any change when testing with the Amsler Grid. The problem is that I am not sure whether there has been any change since that visit to the hospital in May 2016.

    Thank you for your response and advice. I'll get moving.

  • Hi again...At that point I didn't know about AMD, nor did I have an Amsler grid. I'd had blurred vision for a wee while but the optician hadn't found anything untoward. But a short time later I was looking at the kitchen doorjamb and it was wavy. I got an immediate GP appointment and a fast referral to the hospital eye clinic, over 70 miles away, all within a couple of days. That was five or six years ago; then one year ago my other eye was affected but by then I knew what to look (!) for and am currently mid-treatment. I can no longer read with my first eye but I manage very well with the other and consider myself lucky. From your photo you look much younger than me, so it's important for you to safeguard your vision for the future, if that doesn't sound too bossy! What seems to be the issue is to establish firmly whether you indeed have wet AMD or the dry version (which is much more slow-moving but for which there is no treatment). By the way, eye clinics are obliged to follow official guidelines for treatment, so you might like to familiarise yourself with them, so that you aren't left behind/kept waiting, etc. Mistakes can and do sometimes happen in the NHS and earlier this year I had to keep phoning the clinic to remind them of the guidelines and to make sure I had a timely appointment ; this I was advised to do by the Macular Society, to whom I'm very grateful. Good luck.

  • Thank you Beldie. Your AMD history is very interesting and helpful. As you appreciate, I was sent home from the hospital Ophthalmology Dept. in the knowledge that I must keep testing until there is a change, when I should go to the Hospital Emergency centre to be treated. It is difficult to detect any real change and that is my major worry. My next appointment will be when I decide that there is a change.

    Incidentally I am 72 years old. The photo was the first that I could put my hand on but I have just checked to find that it was taken 5 years ago.

    Best, Mike.

  • Hi...I do understand the situation you are in; I wonder though whether they gave you a diagnosis of dry AMD; if they did, I would stop worrying but keep on checking the Amsler grid for perceptible changes, which might take a longish time. If they said it is the wet type, you might like to contact the Macular Society by phone (it's on their website) when you'll find them very helpful with the depth of knowledge they have - much more than any one patient like me! What's the input from your own GP? I do hope you can resolve this matter and feel more comfortable about the situation. Let me know how you get on. (I'm 85 at Christmas and crumbling round the edges.

    All the best, Moyra.

  • Hello Mpenning. So sorry to hear of your predicament. When the optomotrist told me I had dry AMD in both eyes she did not refer me. Until then I was not even aware that I had a problem except that I found reading difficult unless I had a really strong light. And even then I saw dark patches across the page. I was due for new specs and I thought that would cure it. After the diagnosis, which came as quite a shock to me, I went to my GP and asked him to refer me. It took about 10 weeks in total before I saw an eye consultant and there I was told I had wet AMD in my left eye and dry in the other. I had not noticed drastic changes during that time. So it seems it can change from dry to wet without such noticable changes and very quickly too. The visual acuity in my left eye has now gone down fro 20/40 to 20/ 80 despite my first injection - or maybe because of it. Besides using the Amsler Grid I use an eye chart which I have printed from the internet and test my VA once every three days. It will give you some indication how good, or bad, your vision is in each eye. Dont't worry too much. There is help out there.

    Best wishes ayayay80

  • Thank you Ayayay80. The change business is the major worry. My left eye is also the worst one. Oddly enough, I could sometimes see better with my glasses off than with them on. That is because my sight in the left eye was clearer than the right eye. However, the next eye test revealed that there were gaps in my sight. On one test I had to move my head to line up with the test letters. That is when I was advised to see an Ophthalmologist and AMD was found.

    I'll have a look at using an eye chart as an additional aid. What a pity that you cannot photograph or record what you are actually seeing.

    Thanks again.

    Best regards, Mike.

  • Hi again Mike, If you wear varifocals as I do, that may account for having to move your head to focus for the right distance. I do belief that specs can sometimes be a little too strong. Sure, they enlarge what I see and add a little colour, but when I walk out in the morning I feel I am walking on a cloud or through a very thin haze and things around me don't seem to be solid until my brain has adjusted itself to it and then, after about an hour, it feels ok. It could be a touch of temporary double vision. I know you are worried about not recognising the drastic change you have been told about. Are you having regular professional checks - say once every 4 weeks? I think you should insist on that. But even with wet AMD my consultant told me that injections are not given until your visual acuity is worse than 6/12 or 20/40. You can download an eye chart and check yourself meanwhile.

    All the best ayayay80

  • Thank you Ayayay80. AMD has been diagnosed at the Ophthalmology Consultancy Unit at our local hospital, Dry AMD in both eyes, the left being the most advanced. The problem is that there is a very long waiting list, with no chance of regular professional checks every 4 weeks, except for Visual Acuity tests at the opticians. Hence the instruction to go to the hospital Emergencies Dept. if any alteration occurs.

    I'll have a go with the eye chart to determine the Visual Acuity.

    Thanks again Ayayay80.

    Kind regards, Mike.

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