Macular dystrophy affects the retina in the back of the eye. Specifically, it leads to damage of cells in an area in the retina called the macula. The macula is responsible for central vision. When the macula is damaged, people have difficulty seeing straight ahead. This makes it difficult to read, drive, or perform other daily activities that require fine, central vision.
In macular dystrophy, a pigment builds up in cells of the macula. Over time, this substance can damage cells that are critical for clear central vision. Vision often becomes blurry or distorted. Typically, people with macular dystrophy maintain side (peripheral) vision, so they are not totally blind.