Macular degeneration is a type of degenerative retinal disease that causes a progressive loss of vision over time. It is most often age-related, and people over the age of 60 are typically the most vulnerable to the disease.
The condition is so named because of the macula, which is a small region in the very center of the retina. The macula is important for photoreceptors in the eye to perceive different grades of light and certain details, which is why extensive degeneration in the area can ultimately lead to permanent blindness.
There are two main types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is the most common and less severe of the two. It usually progresses gradually, but it does put patients at risk for developing wet macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration is caused by blood or fluid leaking into the macula, and it usually causes much more rapid and severe damage.