The macula forms part of the retina, which is the layer of nerve cells that lines the inside of the eye. The macula is located at the back of the eye and is made up of many light-sensitive cells which produce our vision and help us to complete detailed tasks such as writing and looking at photographs.
This condition occurs when the support cells that help the light-sensitive cells at the macula function effectively become less efficient. This leads to a build-up of waste materials at the macula, which can eventually affect central vision.
Wet Macular Degeneration occurs when leaky new blood vessels develop. This can develop in rapid loss of central vision although peripheral or side vision is not affected.
Dry Macular Degeneration results from slow progressive age change. A person could have the early stages of dry macular degeneration and not notice any problems with their vision. Gradually the central vision may start to deteriorate although this may not occur in both eyes. If a person had dry macular degeneration, they are more likely to go on to develop wet macular degeneration than someone who has no macular degeneration at all.
These are only general guidelines so it is important to have regular eye tests.
People between the ages of 18 and 70 should normally have an eye test every 2 years.
People over 70 should have an annual eye test. Your optometrist will let you know if you should have an eye test more frequently.