A general rule of thumb is that wet macular degeneration occurs roughly 50% of the time over a 5-year period in the fellow eye of a patient who has wet macular degeneration. There are certain characteristics that tell us whether patients are at somewhat increased or decreased risk of this occurring.
The presence of large, soft drusen and/or significant retinal pigment epithelium (the layer underneath the retina) abnormalities suggest an increased risk of developing wet macular degeneration. The absence of any such findings and/or the presence of minimal or small drusen suggest a lesser risk. These risk factors may be modified by actions such as vitamin supplementation; therefore it is strongly recommended that all at-risk patients follow the AREDS recommendations.