The retina is a layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. Think of it like the film in a camera. In order for us to see well, the retina needs to be healthy. There are several diseases that can affect the retina.
Macular degeneration is a condition characterized by the deterioration of the central, high real-estate portion of the retina called the macula. The macula is what gives us our sharp central vision. Patients with this disease often note wavy or blurry vision and, in some cases, near total central vision loss.
There are two types of macular degeneration. The dry type is the more common type (~90%) and typically causes a slow visual decline. Yellow hard deposits called drusen are classic for the dry type. The wet type (10%) is characterized by abnormal, leaky blood vessels in the macula.
Intraocular injections are used to treat the wet type of macular degeneration, and convert it back to the dry type. There is no cure for dry macular degeneration, but you can reduce risk by doing things like eating a healthy diet, exercising, wearing sunglasses, and not smoking.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes is a disease that affects small blood vessels. The retina is a tissue filled with small blood vessels. In diabetic patients, the walls of the blood vessels can become leaky and can cause swelling in the retina and subsequent blurry vision. This is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy has several different stages and treatment recommendations for each stage. Treatment is designed to preserve vision and can include laser, injections, or surgery in some cases.
It is important to have an annual diabetic eye exam to look for signs of diabetic retinopathy. Please call our office to set up an appointment today.
Retinal Detachment and Retinal Tears
We commonly see patients with new onset of flashes and/or floaters. Should these symptoms occur it is important to have a dilated eye examination to assess the health of the retina.
The eye is filled with a gelatinous-like substance called the vitreous. Aging changes in the vitreous often cause floaters, and also flashes if the vitreous pulls on the retina. A retinal tear can result from the vitreous pulling on the retina, and an untreated retinal tear can turn into a vision-threatening retinal detachment. A dilated eye examination is necessary to rule out a retinal tear or detachment.