The most intensive metabolic processes mean that the macula is susceptible to get damaged as a result of metabolic disorders. Above all, elderly people starting around the age of 60 are affected by this disease.
Underlying the retina is the pigment epithelium. This layer has, among other things, the function of a waste removal: the waste products of the sensory cells are processed and subsequently disposed of as completely as possible. However, with increasing age, residues (fats and proteins) accumulate impairing metabolism. These deposits appear as whitish spots on the retina, so-called drusen, their component (lipofuscin) leads to further damage.