Adult man in a garden covering up one eye and giving a thumbs up

Myths About Wet AMD

Early detection and treatment of wet macular degeneration (AMD) are so very important. Catching it early is essential to keeping your baseline vision intact. The shots do work! I am an example of this statement.

A little over 9 years ago a retinal specialist diagnosed my right eye with wet AMD, he also diagnosed my left eye with dry AMD. Fast forward to present day and my vision in the wet AMD eye is still 20/40. I've received over 90 anti-VEGF injections so far.

Myths about wet AMD explored

However, there are many myths and false perceptions about what will happen to us as a result of this disease. Let's dive in and reveal just a few of them. Remember, I am not a doctor. I'm just a 73-year-old guy that has had this disease for 9 years. I just want to debunk a few fears that are out there.

Myth 1: Wet AMD and dry AMD are separate conditions

My understanding is that the entire process begins as dry AMD. In only about 10 to 15% of us, will the dry turn to wet! So dry and wet AMD are essentially the same disease but just in different stages. By this, I assume geographic atrophy (GA), is very late-stage dry AMD.

Unfortunately for me, my dry AMD eye has turned into GA and is now legally blind at 20/400. But, fear not! GA is much less common than AMD. And I still drive daylight only, watch TV and read on my devices.1,2

Myth 2: There's nothing you can do to prevent the progression of AMD

Balderdash! Diet and supplementation are tools we can use to prolong the vision we still have. I'm talking about the Mediterranean Diet rich in oily fish and leafy greens. And an AREDS formula of vitamins and minerals

Do not smoke or consider quitting if you do. And keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Also, maintain regular visits to your eye doc for exams and treatment. My retinal specialist never wavered during the COVID-19 pandemic and neither did I. We kept regular visits going with precautions.3

Myth 3: People with wet AMD eventually go blind

This may have been somewhat true 20 years ago, before the advent of anti-VEGF injections. But not now! And remember, we will always have our peripheral vision. We are never going to go “blackout blind” like Helen Keller or Ray Charles. Ain't gonna happen!

I do an experiment where I close or cover my “good eye”, the 20/40 one, and walk around my house and yard with only the “bad eye” and I am able to navigate and not kill myself thanks to the peripheral vision that remains in my 20/400 eye! 4

Myth 4: If you have a family history of wet AMD, you will definitely get it yourself

A family history doesn't guarantee you'll develop AMD. There are other risk factors involved, such as advancing age, race, genes, diet, smoking, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. There is a family predisposition but it does not mean your dry will definitely become wet.

A glimmer of hope

So, I hope I haven't scared you or made you uncomfortable. I was trying to do the opposite and offer you a glimmer of hope and debunk a few old myths floating around out there. Not mentioned in this article are all the wonderful clinical trials in stages 2 and 3 that are ongoing and offer much hope. That will be a story for another day. I wish you well on our shared eye health journey.

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