What is the difference between Dry and Wet AMD?

Published on
April 26, 2022

Macular degeneration is a degenerative eye condition that affects the back part of your eye called your macula, and it can result in permanent loss of your central vision. There are two forms of AMD, the dry form and the wet form.


It is the less severe and most common form of macular degeneration. During this type of macular degeneration, the macula ages and thins out, causing accumulations of fat and protein under the retina known as drusen. AMD usually begins in just one eye, but over time it is likely to affect the other eye, as well.

Symptoms of dry AMD

In the early stages of dry macular degeneration, you may be asymptomatic at first. You may notice subtle changes to your vision over time. For example,

  • It might be more difficult for you to see at night
  • You may have a reduction in your central vision
  • You may experience that reading has become more difficult
  • It may become a little bit more difficult to recognize faces 
  • Your vision might be distorted a little bit
  • A reduction in contrast, such as seeing certain colors appear duller than they used to.

Diagnosis of Dry AMD

Generally, you would visit an eye doctor and they would dilate your eyes in order to examine the back part of your eye to make sure you don't have any signs of macular degeneration. If you have a lot of drusen, depending on whether they are soft or hard, it can distort your vision. Also, the severity of the dry form depends on the amount of drusen and the type of drusen. When this drusen disappears in your retina, the back part of your eye and that particular piece of retina actually atrophies, and it can cause different blind spots in your vision. They aim to prevent the dry form of AMD from progressing to the wet form, as the wet form is far more severe, and it can cause permanent vision loss.

At our office in Manhattan we have advanced technology that we use to help our eye doctors get a better look at the retina and detect early signs of macular degeneration. We use a sophisticated camera called an ocular coherence tomographer as well as a special test called an ERG. 

Treatment of dry AMD

The treatment of dry AMD depends on its severity. In some cases, your eye doctor may continue to monitor you and observe you with the different images they have in their office. A macular OCT and an ERG are typically used to detect any signs or early changes in macular degeneration. In some cases, you may be sent home with an amsler grid, which you can use to assess your own progress. In the event that any of the lines look distorted, bent, or missing, you should see an eye specialist right away. In addition, depending on the severity, they may recommend that you take vitamins, specifically AREDS supplements, which contain antioxidants and vitamins to help strengthen the macula, in an effort to prevent it from progressing into the wet form. You should visit your eye doctor at least once a year for a dilated eye exam so that if they notice any of these early signs, they can manage you more closely, so that you do not ever have really severe cases of the wet form of macular degeneration.


Wet form is the most severe form of AMD and can result in permanent vision loss. The wet form of AMD is characterized by bleeding and swelling underneath your macula as a result of a break in your blood vessels, which results in great distortions and reductions in your central vision in particular.

Symptoms of wet AMD

In contrast to the gradual symptoms of dry AMD, wet AMD symptoms could appear suddenly and progress quickly. Symptoms of wet AMD include the following:

  • Your glasses no longer provide as clear a view as they once did
  • There may be difficulty in recognizing faces
  • Having trouble adjusting to dim lighting
  • Reading becomes extremely difficult

Treatment of wet AMD

There is a protein called VEGF that causes new abnormal blood vessels to grow. Wet AMD can be treated using anti-VEGF injections that reduce bleeding and swelling to prevent any real permanent vision loss. An ophthalmologist would numb your eye, then you would be injected but you would have to get these injections every four to six weeks.


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.

Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.

Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.

Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.

Allen B.
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