The term maculopathy refers to any disease that affects the macula, the area of the retina that is used to separate central vision (allows to recognize faces, read, drive ...). At the center of the macula is the fovea: it is a depression retinal where is the foveola, the thinner central area in which there are only the cones: this is of photoreceptors - namely of cells able to convert light signals in electrochemical impulses - responsible for central vision and color vision (unlike the rods, which are used for night vision, abundant in the peripheral retina).
The main symptom of macular is a characteristic loss of visual function: who is suffering from macular pathology accuses a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (scotoma positive), not to be confused with the vision of a black spot in the center of the visual field (negative scotoma), as reported by patients with optic neuritis. Another common symptom in maculopathy is the image distortion (metamorphopsia). For example, the lines joining the tiles no longer see straight. Symptoms of lower frequency are misperceptions of the size of the observed objects.
For a correct diagnosis using the so-called test of Amsler, a grid of perpendicular lines at the center appears as a small black disk.
Among the most common forms of macular degeneration is the related macular degeneration (AMD), which can cause blindness central; is considered the leading cause of vision loss in the West (41% of the blind according to WHO).