Macular degeneration is an age-related vision problem and the leading cause of blindness in adults over age 60.
Today, findings show that macular degeneration affects about 12 million people in the United States. This is about one in four older adults. Worldwide, macular degeneration affects about 50 million adults.
Macular degeneration is the result of the breakdown or deterioration of the macula, the central part of the retina. In the eye, the macula works to control central vision. In fact, without the macula, you could not read a book, drive a car, recognize colors or see the intricate details on paintings.
With aging, the chances of macular degeneration increase. Also, people who smoke have a higher chance of getting macular degeneration as those who do not smoke. Many feel that long-term exposure to sunlight contributes to this condition. Heredity and nutrition are also thought to play a role.