The macula represents the central portion of the retina. It is where we have our sharpest reading vision. Over the decades, aging of the macula leads to thinning and buildup of material called drusen. These changes reduce the ability of the photoreceptor cells of the macula to function well. Reading and fine vision can suffer.
The whitish material here is the presence of drusen surrounding the macula.
In dry macular degeneration, there is thinning and accumulation of drusen in the macula. This is the most common form of macular degeneration. It's progress can be slow and variable. No known treatment is available to reverse it's onset or course.
In wet macular degeneration, there is leakage and bleeding in the central retina. A cluster of blood vessels has grown into the macula from the underlying choroid layer. This can lead to an acute loss to vision with scarring. A new class of biologic medications, called Anti VEGF (Lucentis, Avastin, Eyelea) can be injected into the eye to help shrink the blood vessels.