What is wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD)?
wAMD is one of 2 forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease that mostly affects people over the age of 50. In people with AMD, the central vision is gradually destroyed. This central vision is needed to see things clearly. With impaired central vision, tasks like recognizing faces, reading and driving a car are difficult or impossible. AMD does not cause pain.
AMD affects a portion of the retina at the back of the eye called the macula. The macula is a light-sensitive tissue needed to see fine details. The 2 forms of AMD, wet and dry, both affect the macula.
wAMD, also called age-related neovascular macular degeneration, is the most severe form of the disease. In wAMD, abnormal blood vessels begin to grow beneath the macula and leak blood and fluid. This leakage can lead to scarring and permanent visual impairment in weeks or months.
Description: Picture of a man squinting and having trouble seeing. Beside that is a picture of an eye with damage to the macula area of the retina.
Narrator: Age related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a common eye condition, especially in adults over 50, that causes damage to the macula which results in vision loss.
Description: Picture of an eye with an arrow showing where the macula is and then adding in the path that light takes through the lens of the eye to the macula.
Narration: The macula is the central part of the retina at the back of the eye. Even though it is very small, it is the most sensitive part of the retina…
Description: picture of a woman holding a multi-coloured butterfly on her finger. Pictures of someone reading, someone working on a computer, someone driving and someone greeting a friend.
Narration: …and is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, controlling our ability to see fine detail and colour, which in turn allows us, for example, to read, use a computer, drive and recognize faces.
Description: Picture of a graph showing the rate of progression of vision loss. Above the chart are pictures of 5 faces with people that are progressively more blind as the graph moves to the right.
Narration: AMD affects everyone differently. In some cases, vision loss does not occur for a long time and in others the disease progresses faster and can lead to vision loss in one or both eyes.
Description: Picture of an eye. As Dry AMD is talked about there is a detailed drawing of what the retina looks like with Dry AMD. A group of ten people is drawn and nine of them are highlighted to show how many might have Dry AMD.
Narration: There are 2 types of AMD: the dry type and the wet type. The more common type is Dry AMD in which the layer of cells beneath the retina begin to age, thin and can eventually die. For every 10 patients with macular degeneration, approximately 9 would have the dry type alone.
Description: A detailed picture shows what Wet AMD looks like in the retina. One person of the ten previously drawn is highlighted to show how many might get wet AMD.
Narration: In a small percentage of cases, Dry AMD evolves into Wet AMD which is more harmful to the macula.
Description: Picture showing an eye and a detailed section showing the growth of new blood vessels with dots drawn to represent vascular endothelial growth factor.
Narration: With Wet AMD, new, abnormal blood vessels form beneath the macula and retina in a process known as angiogenesis. The growth of these abnormal blood vessels is stimulated by a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF.
Description: Leaking blood and fluid is drawn onto the picture.
Narration: These new blood vessels are fragile and weak and they leak fluid and blood into the tissues of the retina.
Description: Picture of an Amsler grid showing distorted vision.
Narration: This fluid and blood, along with potential scarring, creates the vision problems that we see with wet AMD patients.