In making a macular degeneration vs. macular dystrophy comparison, there are differences between the two types of diseases. The most distinct difference is that Macular dystrophy is a genetic eye disorder that occurs at an early age and causes vision loss over time. Macular degeneration typically only affects older adults, over age 50.
As a result, it is often called age-related macular degeneration. It is a progressive disease that gradually affects a person’s center vision. Age-related macular degeneration may be influenced by hereditary and/or environmental factors.
As a hereditary disorder, macular dystrophies are usually found in a predictable pattern within families. There is a genetically determined abnormality that causes either the loss of the normal pigment of the photoreceptors in the retina or there is accumulation of an abnormal protein.
Different Types of Macular Dystrophies
There are many different versions of macular dystrophies. They include cone-road dystrophy, corneal dystrophy, Fuch’s dystrophy, Sorby’s macular dystrophy, Juvenile Retinoschisis, Stargardt’s disease (the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration), and Best disease (also known as vitelliform macular dystrophy).
Radio and television talk show host and author, Glenn Beck, who currently has the third highest rated radio talk show in the U.S., has been diagnosed with vitelliform macular dystrophy. Beck has complained of inability to focus his eyes and has been told by doctors that he may go blind.
Macular degeneration causes vision distortion and loss of vision in older adults. It comes in two different forms “dry” and “wet”. Dry macular degeneration occurs in about 85% of cases and is the less severe form of the disease.
There are many similarities between the two diseases. Macular dystrophy and macular degeneration both disrupt cells in the macular, which provides a person’s sharp, central vision. Both diseases are progressive if untreated. Both disorders can significantly impact a person’s life. They may limit a person’s ability to read, drive, or make out faces.