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Maculopathy Signs and Symptoms: How to Spot the Condition

Medically reviewed by Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO · Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Jul 06, 2021

Maculopathy Signs and Symptoms: How to Spot the Condition

The macula is a part of the eye, found in the center of the retina, responsible for our central vision. This small oval-shaped area at the back of the eye is responsible for the processing of straight-ahead, sharp and clear vision. Maculopathy is any disease of the macula. Maculopathy signs and symptoms greatly differ depending on their form. Learn more here. 

Maculopathy Signs and Symptoms: According to Type

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Maculopathy (ARM) or commonly known as age-related macular degeneration is a degenerative disease in the retina. It is one of the leading causes of severe vision impairment and often affects people over the age of 50.

People who smoke, are obese, have cardiovascular diseases, or have relatives who have ARM have a higher risk of developing the disease.

In its early stages, patients developing ARM do not experience vision loss or impairment. As ARM progresses, patients would start to see a blurred vision in their central visual field. 

Symptoms of ARM include:

  • Gradual loss of the ability to see objects clearly
  • Loss of color vision
  • Straight lines start to look wavy
  • Objects appear distorted and grey or black spots appear

Diabetic Maculopathy

Diabetic maculopathy is the leading cause of vision impairment from diabetic retinopathy or diseases in the retina caused by diabetes. It usually affects older non-insulin-dependent diabetics.

If diabetes is not well controlled, a patient may suffer macular oedema or swelling in the macula. 

Diabetic Maculopathy leads to trouble with reading and recognizing faces especially in the center of your vision.

Myopic Maculopathy 

Myopic Maculopathy, also known as myopic macular degeneration, usually occurs in people with severe short-sightedness due to the elongation of the eyeball. 

The elongation of the eyeball causes the layers at the back of the retina to stretch and become very thin. The thinning of the layers at the back of the eye can cause cracks under the retina and bleeding the center of the macula.

Symptoms of myopic maculopathy are similar to other types of macular degeneration. Symptoms may include:

  • Gradual loss of vision
  • Trouble seeing shades of colors
  • Seeing blank or grey spots in the central visual field

Bull’s Eye Maculopathy

Bull’s Eye Maculopathy (BCAMD) also known as benign concentric annular macular dystrophy (BCAMD) is characterized by a ring of pale-looking damage around a darker area of the macula. These circular bands differ in shades of pink and orange.

BCAMD is a rare hereditary disease. A child of a person affected with Bull’s eye maculopathy has a 50 percent chance of developing the disease too. 

Patients affected with BCAMD manifest partial color blindness, night blindness, or and blurring of vision. 

Stargardt Disease 

Stargardt Disease, also known as juvenile macular degeneration, is a hereditary disease that usually develops in children, teenagers, and young adults. This disease progresses slowly, speeds up, and then levels off. 

In the early stages of Stargardt disease, patients might experience difficulty in seeing in dim light. Difficulty in adapting from light to dark or dark to light surroundings as well as difficulty in reading are also symptoms of stargardt disease. 

Cone Dystrophy

The cells that give us our color vision known as cones are densely clustered around the macula. Cone dystrophy is a hereditary condition that stops the cones from working, causing loss of color vision and gradual loss of sight. 

Symptoms of cone dystrophy include discomfort to bright light, loss of detailed vision, and difficulty distinguishing colors. Some patients also develop nystagmus or uncontrolled eye movements. 

Punctate inner choroidopathy

Punctate inner choroidopathy (PIC) is a rare disease related to the immune system causing inflammation at the back of the eye. Abnormal blood vessels grow through the inflamed parts of the back of the eye causing loss of central vision. 

Symptoms of PIC include blurred patches in the vision, flashes of light, and floaters. People with PIC also experience distortion in the things that they see. 

Maculopathy signs and symptoms depend on what causes them but most if not all types of maculopathy exhibit distortion and blurring of vision, especially in central vision. 


There is no cure to maculopathy but most of the conditions have treatment that can help in mitigating its effects on one’s vision. Maculopathy develops overtime so most of the treatment and medication are geared towards slowing down its progression.

Genetics plays a huge role in developing maculopathy signs and symptoms, which makes it difficult to prevent. Living a healthy lifestyle, practicing good eye care, and getting regular eye check-ups for early detection can significantly slow down the progression of this disease. 

Key Takeaways

Maculopathy is a disease affecting the central part of the retina. There are many forms of maculopathy.

Common maculopathy signs and symptoms include blank or grey spots and blurring in the central vision, difficulty in seeing colors or poor contrast sensitivity, sensitivity to bright light, and distortion.

Maculopathy is not curable and is difficult to prevent but its progression can be slowed down with treatment, medication, and by living a healthy lifestyle. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO

Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Jul 06, 2021

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