What is Macular Disease?
Macular disease is any disease or degeneration of cells in the macula. The macula is the center part of the retina which is responsible for our straight ahead and sharp, detailed vision.
The macula is the most sensitive portion of the retina, the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye, located near the optic nerve. The purpose of the retina is to capture light that the lens has focused, convert the light into neural signals, and send these signals to the brain for visual recognition. Macular disease results in a gradual loss of sharp, detailed and central vision. Usually the side or peripheral vision is not affected.
Common macular diseases include:
Macular Pucker – Macular pucker, also called epiretinal membrane, is scar tissue that has formed on the macula. This can be caused by certain eye problems such as retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy or other eye trauma.
Macular Hole – A macular hole is a small break in the macula. Macular holes can occur as a result of natural aging, a complication of eye disorders, eye disease and injury to the eye.
Macular Edema – Macular edema is swelling of the macula, caused by fluid leaking from retinal blood vessels into the macula.
Dry Macular Degeneration – Dry macular degeneration is characterized by small white or yellowish deposits, called drusen, that form on the retina, beneath the macula, causing it to deteriorate or degenerate over time. These small yellow deposits are a buildup of waste materials, made up of cholesterol, protein and fats.
Wet Macular Degeneration – In wet age-related macular degeneration, which is much less common than the dry form, abnormal blood vessels under the retina begin to grow toward the macula. Because these new blood vessels are abnormal, they tend to break, bleed and leak fluid, damaging the macula and causing it to lift and pull away from its base. This can result in a rapid and severe loss of central vision.
Treatment of Different Macular Diseases
There are various treatments available for most macular diseases. Some are successful at restoring vision. Depending on the portion of the retina that is affected and the progression of the disease, some degree of permanent vision loss may be expected.
If you are experiencing vision loss or visual problems of any kind, contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or website to schedule an examination with our doctors. Prompt treatment is important to minimize loss of sight.