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Svjetlost is the leading ophthalmology Clinic in the Southeastern Europe, offering complete ophthalmic services.

Do you know what yellow spot or macula is?

Do you know what yellow spot or macula is?
Macula is the centre of the eye and sharpest sight place. It’s on the background of the eye. Its nerves are rich with lutein and zeaxanthin pigment, which makes it look yellow. 
The yellow spot, also known as macula, is the centre of the eye and sharpest sight place. In fact, it’s the centre of our eye placed on the background of the eye and it’s around 5 millimetres big. Yellow spot is a part of inner layer of the eye called the retina.
 
Retina is the brain outgrow because it consists of nerve tissue, i.e. nerves. Out of the entire retina, macula has the biggest concentration of the nerves called photoreceptors. This is exactly the reason why it’s a place we see the clearest with/from. Photoreceptors are small nerves receiving light entering the eye and turning it to an electric impulse that travels to the brain, which is the real reason we can see. It is said we look with our eyes but see with our brain.
 
The nerves inside the macula are rich with lutein and zeaxanthin pigment, which makes it look yellow. It’s also the reason it is called the yellow spot. In order to provide clear vision, the yellow spot must be very efficiently organized. There are millions of tiny nerves converting light to electric impulse in a very small area of only a few millimetres. This process requires a lot of energy and oxygen.
 
The yellow spot (macular) diseases
 
Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why degenerative processes that lead to visual impairment occur, especially after 50 years of age. The yellow spot diseases are numerous and can be degenerative, inflammatory, vascular, autoimmune and so on. Various systemic diseases often damage macula, but so-called macular degeneration causes most of the problems. It’s age-related disease and it increases with population ageing.
 
Macular degeneration is a disease that usually occurs after 50 years of age with the assumption that over 30% of the population over the age of 75 have some form of this disease. The occurrence of this disease is in great swing due to the rapid ageing of the population so it is assumed that the number of people with macular degeneration and the costs associated with treatment will be significantly increased in the upcoming years.
 
Symptoms of macular degeneration
 

As with any other macular disease, with macular degeneration, the person notices visual impairment, inability to read, disorientation, inability to see facial features.  Simply, central vision is weakened while the vision field remains the same. Because of all the above and the fact that with counselling and timely examinations the disease can be detected on time, it is advised to make yellow spot examination as a part of an ophthalmological examination after the age of 40.
 
Early forms of macular degeneration can be slowed down with the use of vitamin capsules up to 30%, while advanced forms are successfully treated with antiVEGF drugs. These drugs are used as an injection in the eye (the application is not painful).
 
Very often, if it comes to the macular disease only on one eye, a person doesn’t notice the change because the other eye works well. That is why eye self-control, where each eye is tested separately, covering the other eye, is very important. This simple self-control eye test can be done anywhere and anytime and can greatly assist and detect disease in an early stage.
 
So-called Amsler grid is also an easy-to-use tool that can detect macular diseases. It’s a simple, straight-lined grid the person is looking at on the paper. If the macula is healthy, a person sees straight lines, while the lines become wavy in case of macular diseases.
 
Therefore, in order to preserve our macula, it is necessary to perform an ophthalmic examination, especially after 40 years of age, but even doing simple home-based tests, it is possible to detect macular diseases just in right time to seek optician.
 
Dr. Ivan Boras, spec. ophthalmologist, Retina department of Svjetlost Clinic