Understanding the Retina
The retina is a layer of light-sensitive nerve cells along the back of the eye. Your retina plays a key role in your vision by processing the light that filters through the eye’s lens. Once light is received by the retina, neural signals are sent to the brain to complete visual recognition. The macula is a central part of the retina and it contains many of the photoreceptor cells that are responsible for detecting colors and fine details. The space between the retina and the lens is a gel-like element called the vitreous.
When the retina is diseased or damaged, your vision can be significantly impaired or lost. Early detection and effective treatment of retinal conditions are needed to maintain eye health and preserve vision. The highly experienced eye doctors at CVP Physicians Dayton offer leading edge diagnostics and treatment options, including specially formulated vitamins, medications, laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, and microsurgery.
Types of Macular and Retinal Diseases
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among older adults. Macular degeneration is a result of a thinning of the macular tissue. It can cause central vision loss, blind spots, changes in color perception, and distorted vision.
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Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to process blood sugar. People with diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease that damages retinal blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy has several distinct stages with varying symptoms. Early detection is important to prevent permanent vision loss.
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Cystoid Macular Edema
The macula is delicate and if it becomes swollen or inflamed, a condition called cystoid macular edema can develop. This condition causes blurry central vision and may also cause redness and discomfort. Cystoid macular edema can be treated with anti-inflammatory eye drops, injectable medication, or surgery.
Flashes and floaters are common visual disturbances that appear as flashes of light or as dark specks or strands. Flashes and floaters are typically the result of changes in the vitreous gel. They are often harmless, but it is important to have them evaluated by an experienced eye doctor.
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A macular hole occurs when the vitreous pulls away from the retina in a way that causes a tear in the macula. A macular hole causes blurriness in central vision, makes straight lines look wavy, and creates difficulty reading and performing day to day tasks. Surgery can be performed to repair a macular hole.
A macular pucker occurs when scar tissue develops on the macula, usually as a result of a shrinking of the vitreous due to the natural aging process. This condition typically causes tolerable symptoms, such as mild blurriness or distortion in vision. If a macular pucker does not resolve on its own and it causes severe symptoms, it can be treated with surgery.
A detached retina occurs when the retina is separated from the surrounding tissue, which can cause vision loss, sudden shadows, and bright flashes. Retinal detachment can happen gradually, sometimes as a result of inflammation, or suddenly, as with an eye injury. Retinal detachment is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately.
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A retinal tear can occur as a result of aging or due to an eye injury. Similar to retinal detachment, a tear in the retina can cause shadows in vision or flashes. If left untreated, a retinal tear can lead to retinal detachment.
Retinal Vein Occlusion
Small blood vessels in the eye transfer nutrients and oxygen to the retina, with arteries supplying blood and retinal veins carrying it away. If a retinal vein becomes blocked, it causes retinal vein occlusion, or RVO. There is no treatment for RVO, so it is important to receive preventative care if you have risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, macular edema, or inflammatory conditions.
A healthy vitreous gel does not contain any blood vessels, but diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, Terson’s syndrome, certain tumors, or carotid artery disease can cause blood vessels to grow. If one of these newly formed vessels breaks, the bleeding within the vitreous can lead to vision loss. Available treatments include vitrectomy surgery or laser photocoagulation.
Vitrectomy is an eye surgery to remove the vitreous gel. It may be performed as a treatment for retinal detachment, severe floaters, vitreous hemorrhage, a macular hole, or other retinal conditions.
Retinal Laser Photocoagulation
Retinal Laser Photocoagulation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a specialized laser to slow or prevent the growth of new blood vessels in the vitreous or the retina. It may be used to treat retinal conditions such as retinal detachment, retinal tear, diabetic retinopathy, or macular degeneration.
Contact CVP Physicians Dayton for Treatment of Retinal Diseases
Retinal health is important for clear vision. Beyond their education and training in ophthalmology, each of our Retinal Specialists has completed subspecialty training in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases. The Retinal Specialists at CVP Physicians Dayton have the expertise and experience necessary to care for a full range of retina conditions. Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.