What is the Retina?
The retina is the membrane that lines the inside of the eye. Think of it like film in a camera. Images are captured on the retina, encodes, and sends them to the brain via the optic nerve. As you can imagine, the processes of the retina are very complex and can be hindered in several different ways.
What Are Common Retinal Conditions?
Macular degeneration is a disease that attacks the part of the eye where our sharpest central vision occurs: the macula. It is a progressive eye condition affecting millions of people worldwide. It robs individuals of all but their outermost vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the center of vision, but it rarely results in complete blindness.
When macular degeneration begins, the person may initially notice a blurring of their central vision, most apparent when performing detailed tasks like sewing or reading. They may also notice straight lines appearing distorted or warped. Blind spots form in the central vision as the disease progresses. The extent of how much central vision is lost varies depending on the type of degeneration. Usually, if macular degeneration occurs in one eye, it will develop in the other eye as well.
Despite age-related macular degeneration being the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 55, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) showed that patients could decrease their risk of vision loss by 19% by taking a high-potency antioxidant AREDS formula supplement daily.
Diabetes affects various aspects of a person’s health, including the eyes. Blood vessels in the retina can become damaged as a result of diabetes. The damage is called diabetic retinopathy. There are two types, depending on how severe the disease is.
Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) is the less severe form of the disease. It occurs when fluid from the damaged retinal blood vessels leak into the macula. The macula swells as a result and causes blurry or cloudy vision.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is the more advanced stage of the disease and can cause the most damage to a person’s vision. In this stage, new blood vessels form in the retina and leak blood into the vitreous. If left untreated, PDR could potentially lead to retinal detachment or glaucoma.
The best way to stave off diabetic retinopathy is to be health-conscious and manage your diabetes well. Have regular eye exams so that doctors can examine developments in the retina. Treatment of diabetic retinopathy ranges from simple maintenance to complex treatments, including surgery.
Floaters are usually caused by foreign matter in the vitreous, an eye injury, or an existing eye disease. They are small abnormalities in a person’s vision that appear as tiny spots or curvy lines that move with the eye. Because they could indicate a more serious condition, monitoring floaters closely is important. That being said, they do not adversely affect overall vision themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does the initial consultation take?
Please allow two hours for the consultation, including diagnostic procedures.
How are the vitreous and the retina related?
The vitreous fills the inside of the eye and attaches to certain parts of the retina. Foreign matter in the vitreous can be harmful.
What are the different types of macular degeneration?
There are two types of macular degeneration (MD), wet and dry.
The most common type of MD is dry MD. It accounts for approximately 80% of all macular degeneration cases, but only 20% lead to severe vision loss. Dry MD occurs due to aging and thinning blood vessels under the macula.
While wet MD occurs less frequently, it accounts for most cases that result in severe vision loss. Wet MD is caused by an abnormal growth of new blood vessels that leak. It is aggressive in nature, disrupting the central viewing function of the macula, eventually resulting in the complete loss of central vision if not treated.
Research for new treatments for macular degeneration continues to show progress. For the time being, high-intensity reading lamps, magnifiers, and other low-vision aids assist those with macular degeneration to use the vision they have remaining.