Macular Degeneration

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What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a deterioration or breakdown of the macula.  The macula is a small area in the retina at the back of the eye that allows you to see fine details clearly and perform activities such as reading and driving.  When the macula does not function correctly, your central vision can be affected by blurriness, dark areas or distortion.  Macular degeneration affects your ability to see near and far, and can make some activities - like threading a needle or reading - difficult or impossible.

Although macular degeneration reduces vision in the central part of the retina, it usually does not affect the eye's side, or peripheral, vision.  For example, you could see the outline of a clock but not be able to tell what time it is.

Normal Vision

The same view with age-related macular degeneration (National Eye Institute)