Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a painless eye condition that causes you gradually to lose your central vision (the ability to see what is directly in front of you). You use your central vision during activities such as reading, writing and driving. Macular degeneration occurs when the part of your eye that is responsible for central vision (the macula) is unable to function as effectively as it used to. Macular degeneration doesn’t affect your peripheral vision (your outer vision, sometimes known as “side vision”), so the condition won’t make you completely blind.

Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration affects your eyes gradually. Although there is no treatment for dry macular degeneration, there are ways you can learn to cope with it. Wet macular degeneration is more serious than dry macular degeneration, and can develop very quickly. It requires treatment as soon as possible.

Who is Affected by Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration most commonly affects people over 50 years of age. Macular degeneration in older people is referred to as age-related macular degeneration. Approximately 2% of people over 50 years of age have age-related macular degeneration. In people over 65 years of age, the number rises sharply to 80%, with about 20% of those over 85 years of age having the condition. In fact, in older people, age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of visual impairment. Macular degeneration is more common in women than in men, although the reasons for this are not fully understood. In rare cases, young people can also be affected. This is usually caused by a genetic condition.