The macula is the part of the eye that controls central (straight ahead) visions. As people get older, they made suffer from an illness called macular degeneration (often abbreviated to AMD), and hereditary factors also have in role determining who is likely to get macular disease.
Those who develop this condition slowly lose their ability to see clearly straight ahead of them. In most cases, this condition affects both eyes, and although there is no pain, the vision loss is obviously very worrying and distressing. Typical symptoms include problems reading, a loss of clarity in colors and even problems recognizing familiar faces. The illness usually comes on gradually over a number of years. The patient's side vision remains unaffected, so people do not become vision-impaired rather than blind. To give an idea of how common this health problem is statistics from the UK show that it affects 1% of the population.
Without doubt, anyone who feels their vision is deteriorating should go to their doctor or optician. They will perform tests to see if this is a case of macular or some other eyesight issue.
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