The most common form of age-related macular degeneration is called the dry form. This form of the disease affects up to 90 percent of AMD patients. In the early stages of dry AMD, tiny deposits of “drusen,” start appearing within the retina. These drusen may be so insignificant that the patient has few, if any, outward symptoms and no vision loss. As dry AMD progresses, more disruptive drusen begin to appear. As the size and number of drusen increase, patients may begin to notice a small, dark spot in their central vision, causing them problems while reading or driving at night. Drusen alone are not proof of macular degeneration, but they are an important warning sign. It is critical for patients to understand that as dry AMD progresses, it can turn into the more severe form called wet AMD.
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