The macula ages like the rest of the body. When the aging process severely damages the macular tissue,
it is called macular degeneration. The most common sign of aging of the macula is the appearance of
drusen, which are deposits of lipid material under the macula. Further aging can lead to either dry or wet
types of macular degeneration.
Dry Macular Degeneration
In dry macular degeneration, the macula becomes gradually thinner. Eventually, most of the macula can become worn out. Vision loss is gradual.
Wet Macular Degeneration
New blood vessels
With wet macular degeneration, new blood vessels develop under the macula. These blood vessels are fragile, so they leak fluid and bleed, and eventually scar. Wet macular degeneration leads to a rapid loss of vision.
Gaps in vision
Loss of contrast
OCT scan showing blood and fluid causing swelling and distortion of the macula.
Fluorescein angiogram outlines the leaking new blood vessels with dye.