Definition Macular degeneration is damage to or breakdown of the macula of the eye. The macula is a small area at the back of the eye that allows us to see fine details clearly. Macular degeneration makes close work like threading a needle or reading a book, difficult or impossible. When the macula doesn’t function correctly, we experience blurriness or darkness in the center of our vision. Although macular degeneration reduces vision in the central part of the retina, it does not affect the eye’s side or peripheral vision. For example, you could see a clock but not be able to tell what time it is. Macular degeneration alone does not result in total blindness. Most people continue to have some useful vision and are able to take care of themselves.
There are two forms of macular degeneration:
The Dry Type. This is the most common form. In this type of macular degeneration, the delicate tissues of the macula become thinned and cease to function properly.
The Wet Type. This is less common, but is typically more damaging. The wet type of macular degeneration is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels behind the macula. The abnormal blood vessels tend to hemorrhage or leak, with the result being the formation of scar tissue if left untreated. In some instances, the dry type of macular degeneration can turn into the wet type.