A variety of conditions can affect the retina, but most lead to visual impairment.
Within the retina, millions of rods and cones and other neurons collect and process visual information, transmitting this data to the brain. Damage to the retina due to retinal disease can disrupt this process and impair vision.
Contact your ophthalmologist at Wilkinson Eye Center if you’re concerned about any conditions related to the retina.
Types Of Retinal Diseases
Retinal diseases come in a variety of forms. Some are reasonably common and readily curable, while others are rarer and necessitate more complex care and treatment.
Common retinal diseases include:
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disorder that can affect people with diabetes. When this happens, elevated blood sugar levels harm the retina's blood vessels, increasing the potential to expand and leak. Alternately, blood vessels can close, preventing blood flow. On the retina, aberrant new blood vessels can occasionally form, which can cause loss of vision.
The macula is located in the center of the retina. In macular degeneration, images are incorrectly received. Macular degeneration typically doesn’t impact vision in its early stages, other than a reduced capacity for seeing in low light. As the disease progresses, a person may experience wavy or blurred vision. Left untreated, all central vision can be lost.
A macular hole is a little flaw in the center of the macula. It can occur due to aberrant retinal and vitreous tension or following an eye trauma.
This is an inherited degenerative condition that gradually damages the retina and impairs peripheral and night vision.
The epiretinal membrane is a thin membrane or scar that covers the retina and resembles crumpled cellophane. Eyesight is distorted as a result of this membrane pulling up on your retina, making things appear distorted or blurry.
This is when the retina detaches from the back wall of the eye, resulting in blurred vision. Total loss of eyesight is a possibility without retinal surgery.
A retinal tear is when the retina tears because of traction with the vitreous, a transparent, gel-like fluid in the center of your eye. A retinal tear often comes on suddenly.
The accumulation of fluid in the macula, which results in swelling, causes macular edema. This edema may cause visual distortion, blurring details, and washed-out colors.
This is characterized by inflammation inside the eye. The uvea is the middle layer of the eye between the whites of the eye and the retina. Uveitis primarily damages the uvea, but it can also damage other areas of the eye.
Symptoms Of Retinal Diseases
Although symptoms of retinal diseases vary, they can share common symptoms, such as:
- All or partial loss of eyesight
- Loss or reduction of peripheral vision
- Distorted, wavy vision
- Blurred, cloudy vision
- Specks or “cobwebs” in field of vision
- Sudden blindness
- Sparkles, or flashes of light
- Redness in the whites of the eyes
- Difficulty adjusting to changes in light
- Eye pain
Testing For Retinal Diseases
During a comprehensive eye exam, your ophthalmologist can check for the presence of retinal diseases using a variety of tests, including:
Dilated Retinal Exam
Using an ophthalmoscope and a light-emitting tool, the doctor examines the back of the eyes after dilating the pupils.
Wide-field Retinal Imaging
A special optical camera is used to view the back of the eyes. Single-image frames can be produced, which can be viewed on a monitor by the patient and the doctor.
Optical Coherence Tomography
The doctor uses an imaging instrument to map out the topography of the back wall of the eyes, revealing any optic nerve damage, macular holes, or retinopathy.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above or are concerned about having retinal disease, book an appointment with an ophthalmologist at Wilkinson Eye Center as soon as possible.