Macular degeneration is a chronic eye condition that causes loss of central vision because of damage to the macula in the central part of the retina. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is most common in people older than 50 years. The condition is more common in Western countries than in Asia.
As the central part of your vision is affected, you may find it difficult to read or to recognise faces, and driving will be affected. However, your vision outside the central area of your gaze (peripheral vision) will allow you to continue with other daily activities.
There are two types of macular degeneration:
- Dry macular degeneration is characterised by yellow fatty deposits (drusen) in the retina – You may have some vision loss (sometimes there is a blind spot in the central portion of your vision), but dry macular degeneration rarely causes severe vision impairment or blindness.
- Wet macular degeneration is a more serious form of the disease, in which new blood vessels grow underneath the retina –The new vessels may leak blood or fluid, causing your vision to become wavy or distorted, and may result in blind spots.
Although wet macular degeneration can cause severe vision loss, it rarely leads to total blindness and you will retain some side (peripheral) vision.