The retina is an integral part of the eye that forms the images that you see. The macula is the part of the eye that controls the central field vision. If this part is damaged, central vision is lost or reduced while your peripheral vision remains the same. Macular degeneration progresses slowly and usually has minimal effects in the early stages. While the disease is painless, people will lose the ability to see fine details and some images will appear as if parts of them are missing.
Two types of macular degeneration can form: wet and dry.
- Wet Macular Degeneration occurs when the retina leaks fluid and scar tissue develops. As a result, extreme vision loss can occur.
- Dry macular degeneration occurs when retinal damage results from changes to the pigment layer supporting the retina. Vision loss becomes more severe over time.
If you smoke, you are at an increased risk of developing this disease. While there is not a specific cause, environment, age, health, and genetics could all be factors.