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The macula is an area in the retina that is responsible for giving the sharpest vision. It is responsible for helping one read clearly and also for working on things close by.

Macular disease affects people of all ages. However, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common condition, generally affecting people over 50 years of age. Other macular diseases like juvenile macular dystrophies can affect much younger people, including children.

In the medical sphere, the month of May is dedicated to creating awareness of Macular Disease.

UNDERSTANDING THE MACULA

The retina of the human eye corresponds to the film of a camera.  It receives light and image signals.  The central portion of the retina is called “macula”.  It is a delicate region rich in photoreceptor nerve cells that enable us to see fine details and colour.

The macula is important for central vision, fine visualization and colour differentiation. Patients suffering from macular diseases may present with:

  • Blurring of central vision
  • Image distortion (wavy, broken or distorted lines or blurred with missing areas of vision)
  • Central or para-central blind spot (scotoma)

TYPES OF MACULAR DISEASES

The macula can be affected by a number of pathologies including trauma, infection, degeneration, vascular and inflammatory problems, etc.

Since there are so many different types and causes of macular diseases, treatment depends on the cause, location and extent of the macular involvement.  Patients should seek advice from an eye doctor for specific treatments of their macular problems. Some examples are:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (dry and wet type)
  • High myopia macular degeneration
  • Diabetic macular edema
  • Macular hole

Under juvenile macular dystrophies we have:

  • Stargardt disease
  • Cone dystrophy
  • Pattern dystrophy
  • Bull’s eye maculopathy

TREATMENT

In general, the possible modalities of treatments include:

  • Laser photocoagulation
  • Surgery
  • medications

Be aware that macular disease is a painless eye condition, so you might not notice the degeneration in the early stages. This is why regular eye check-ups are important. Schedule one with us today.