Macula is the area of the retina where the vision is most acute. This is the region where photoreceptors (the cells that we see with) are particularly densely packed.
Age-related macular degeneration affects the central retina and causes the loss of central visual acuity. For a person this means a distortion of written text and seeing blurred faces. At the last stage, the person is only capable of employing peripheral vision to perceive the surroundings. Reading, driving and even watching television is no longer possible at this stage. AMD is a dramatic and irreversible process.
The development of AMD in old age is directly affected by the lifestyle (stress, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet) and genetics. If the older generation of the family has a history of AMD, the probability of its development in future generations is high.
Although data show that one 50-65 year-old person out of ten is experiencing the early onset of AMD, the age of people, in whom early signs of AMD are reported, is decreasing every year. The natural ageing process is the main cause of AMD, but environmental factors like smoking, wrong diet, sedentary lifestyle, and stress are also contributing to the earlier onset of the disease.