Caused by the breakdown of the central portion of the retina, macular degeneration is the leading cause of impaired reading and detail vision. Though peripheral or side vision is not affected, macular degeneration does cause distortion of central and color vision. Macular degeneration is often a natural result of aging when over time, retinal tissues deteriorate and thin. In about 10% of cases, aging of the retina is worsened by leaking of tiny blood vessels which nourish the retina.
Blurry or distorted central vision is the most noticeable symptom of macular degeneration. With macular degeneration, a person may have difficult reading because of blurry words on the page, see distortion of lines or the center of a scene, or experience a dark or empty area in the central visual field.
Laser treatment may slow progression of the disease, but there is no cure for macular degeneration. Early treatment is the only effective strategy to prevent further vision loss, and regular eye examinations are the only sure way to detect it.