Age-Related Macular Degeneration

What is the macula, and what is macular degeneration?

The front of the eye acts as a lens, focussing the light onto the back of the eye. The structure at the back of the eye is called the retina, with the central part of the retina being the macula. The macula is therefore the most important part of the retina, responsible for central vision. We use the retina for reading, recognising faces and colour vision. 

Macular degeneration is a disease in which the macula is progressively damaged, resulting in a progressive decline in vision. This usually occurs in older people, and therefore the most common form of macular degeneration is called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). There are other rarer syndromes which occur in younger people (such as Stargardt's Maculopathy) or run in families (such as Sorsby's Macular Dystrophy).