Nearly 1.5m people in the UK have macular disease. It affects people of all ages. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common condition, generally affecting people over the age of 55.
AMD is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting more than 600,000 people.
A group of rare inherited conditions called macular dystrophies can affect much younger people. Some of these rare conditions can appear in childhood, although some are not diagnosed until later in life.
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) usually affects people over 50 but can happen earlier. AMD is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting more than 600,000 people.
Dry age-related macular degeneration
Dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a gradual deterioration of the macula as the retinal cells die off and are not renewed.
Wet age-related macular degeneration
Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) develops when abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula. These leak blood or fluid which leads to scarring of the macula and rapid loss of central vision.
Some people have changes to their retina, the appearance of drusen or areas of abnormality. This is known as ‘early’ age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Retinal vein occlusion (RVO)
Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of a vein draining blood from the retina at the back of the eye. Depending on where the blockage occurs, it might also be called BRVO or CRVO.
A macular hole is a small defect in the retinal layer that develops in the macula. Often the hole will close by itself, without any treatment, but larger holes may require surgery to repair them.
Myopic macular degeneration
Myopic macular degeneration is a type of macular degeneration that occurs in people with severe myopia.
Stargardt disease is a genetic condition caused by a tiny alteration in a single gene. It is the most common form of juvenile macular dystrophy.
Bestrophinopathies are a group of five related macular conditions caused by mistakes or mutations in a gene called BEST1.
Cone dystrophy stops the cone cells of the retina working, leading to loss of central and colour vision.
Doyne honeycomb dystrophy
Doyne honeycomb dystrophy is caused by a mutation or mistake on a single gene, and causes sight loss, often from early adulthood.
Sorsby fundus dystrophy
Sorsby fundus dystrophy causes similar symptoms to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), although it generally affects people at a younger age.
Pattern dystrophy is the umbrella term for a group of retinal conditions which causes damage to tissue in the eye.
Bull’s eye maculopathy
Bull’s eye maculopathy describes a number of different conditions in which a ring of pale-looking damage develops around a darker area of the macula.
Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE)
Pseudoxanthoma elasticum or ‘PXE' causes minerals to build up in tissues all over the body, including the back of the eye. PXE can cause sight loss as well as problems with the skin and digestive system.
Macular oedema (MO) is swelling of the retina at the back of the eye in the macular area usually due to fluid build-up from leakage of damaged or abnormal blood vessels.
Central serous retinopathy
In central serous retinopathy (CSR), the macula becomes separated from the eye tissue behind it, and fluid builds up in the space created. CSR may be triggered by stress or infection, but often goes away without any treatment.
Punctate inner choroidopathy
Punctate inner choroidopathy (PIC) can cause flashes, floaters or sudden distortion of vision. In PIC, a person's immune system begins to attack healthy tissue, and patches of inflammation or white dots can be seen.
Charles Bonnet syndrome
Up to half of all people with sight loss caused by macular degeneration may see the visual hallucinations known as Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS). Hallucinations caused by Charles Bonnet syndrome can be funny, distracting or even frightening, but they are very normal and not a sign of dementia or mental illness.