The macula is a small area at the retina’s center, in the very back of the eye. This part of the eye is responsible for detailed central vision, as well as most color vision. Macular diseases don’t lead to total blindness but instead impact the central point of sight, leaving peripheral vision intact. Many diseases may affect this part of the eye, but Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common, with approximately 15 million people in the United States living with some stage of AMD.
Macular diseases are primarily due to aging eyes, but other risk factors contribute to the condition, including gender, race, a prior family history of the disease, and lifestyle. Women are at a higher risk of developing macular diseases than men, and Caucasians carry a higher risk than African American and Asian populations. Smoking and obesity also contribute to the progression of the disease.