There are 2 types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD).
Non-exudative (Dry) ARMD
Symptoms are a gradual loss of straight ahead vision, usually in both eyes but more so in one eye than the other. The patient may notice some distortion of straight lines.
The early signs of ARMD consists of either macular drusen or pigmentary disturbances in the macula. Macular drusen are small white dots in the macula. They are metabolic waste products which normally are removed from the macula. The other sign of dry ARMD is a pigmentary disturbance within the macula seen as lighter or darker pigmented spots.
As these changes develop further vision decreases.
Exudative (Wet) ARMD
This is the more serious form of the disease. Symptoms usually include a more rapid and more severe loss of straight ahead vision and much more distortion straight lines.
In this form, blood vessels grow into the macula and then hemorrhage leading to scarring of the macula.
The only treatment for Dry ARMD is better nutrition (possibly including supplements) and quitting smoking.
Wet ARMD is now treated with injections of drugs into the macula which slow down or stop new blood vessels from growing into the macula.