Eyesight is treasured by all. The infinite colors, shapes, and movements are recorded by the very complex functioning of the eye. Retinal diseases can disturb the way that you perceive visual stimuli and can lead to distorted or lost vision. Using the very latest methods many retinal disorders including the conditions listed below, can be treated. Since retinal tissue is irreplaceable it is critical to minimize damage to the retina. Timing can play a vital role in the extent of disease of the retina; therefore, if you have a retinal disease do not delay in seeking care.
The retina, serving like the film in a camera, is the tissue lining of the back of the eye. This delicate tissue is made of neurons, blood vessels, and support cells. A relatively small part of the retina is actually used for central detailed vision.
The macula is the central six mm area of the retina that helps with tasks requiring fine detail such as reading and driving. Unlike diseases in the peripheral retina which can go unnoticed, diseases in the macula can cause a significant disturbance of vision.
The Amsler grid is a tool that eye doctors use to detect vision problems resulting from damage to the macula (the central part of the retina) or the optic nerve. Click here to download a PDF of the grid.
The vitreous or vitreous body is a transparent gelatinous substance that fills the back compartment of the eye. It is mostly comprised of water although it is more viscous. With aging, the vitreous pulls away from the retina.
Common Retinal Conditions
Branch Retinal Artery or Vein Occlusion
Central Retinal Artery or Vein Occlusion
Central Serous Retinopathy
Cystoid Macular Edema (CME)
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Retinitis
Epiretinal Membrane or Macular Pucker
Flashes and Floaters and Posterior Vitreous Detachments
Infections of the Eye
Retinal Tears and Detachment
Retinal Vascular Disease
Branch Retinal Artery Occlusion (BRAO) and Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion (BRVO) occur due to blockages in the small arteries and veins responsible for conducting blood flow in the retina.
Arteries can often get clogged due to blood clots or fat deposits stuck within the arteries themselves. Patients with BRAO often present with blurred vision or a partial loss of vision in their upper or lower half of visual field. Though some arterial occlusions can spontaneously resolve, others have the potential to be long lasting and cause permanent vision defects. Though there is no direct treatment for BRAO, systemic causes are usually investigated in order to examine the underlying factors leading to blood clots.
Since arteries and veins overlap each other in the inner layers of the retina, hardening and thickening of arteries can put excessive pressure on veins. The excessive pressure can compress the veins leading to a vein occlusion. The occlusion can cause blood and fluid to leak in the center of the vision, also known as macular edema. Thus, patients with BRVO often experience vision loss in the center of their vision due to the presence of edema. BRVO is often treatable and the treatments often target reducing symptoms related to macular edema in order to improve vision.
Central Retinal Artery Occlusion (CRAO) occurs when the central retinal artery is blocked, most likely due to an embolus or clot. Patients with CRAO often experience painless but severe loss of vision in the affected eye. In some cases the occlusion of the central artery can later cause the pressure of the eye (intraocular pressure) to increase to dangerous levels in the course of the disease. Various treatments can be employed to lower the intraocular pressure or resolve the other complications related to blockage in the artery; however, the vision loss may not be reversed even with treatment.
Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO) occurs when the central vein in the retina experiences a blockage. The blockage can cause the walls of the vein to leak excess fluid and blood into the part of the retina known as the macula (macular edema) causing problems in visual acuity. CRVO also often causes painless but severe loss in the affected eye. Though a small proportion of patients may experience a spontaneous improvement in vision with time, the vision often deteriorates in many cases without treatment. Treatment options usually include injections of medicine into the eye in order to minimize the macular edema and in some cases improve vision.
Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR) occurs due to a buildup of fluid in the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision. This condition can cause a distortion in vision, often in the patient’s central field of vision. The fluid usually originates in a tissue layer containing blood vessels under the retina, known as the choroid. Another layer of cells, known as the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) is usually responsible for preventing the leakage of fluid from the choroid. However, due to unclear reasons, patches of RPE can become ineffective thus allowing for passage of fluid from the choroid. Over time, the fluid starts to accumulate under the retina. Most cases of CSR clear up within one to two months without any treatment, but, follow-up care with an ophthalmologist is recommended to monitor the reabsorption of fluid. Most patients with CSR regain complete vision; however in some cases, the vision may not return to pre-existing levels.
Cystoid Macular Edema (CME) occurs when multiple cyst-like (cystoid) areas of fluid are present in the central part of the retina, also known as the macula. The aforementioned areas of fluid often cause swelling in the macula, known as macular edema. Though there are various causes of CME, it is often observed after eye surgery, in patients with diabetes, age-related macular degeneration, vein occlusions, or injuries to the eye. Patients with CME often report blurred or wavy central vision. Treatment for CME depends on the reported symptoms and the presence of other related conditions, but usually includes some combination of drops, injections, and laser treatments to target macular edema.
A macular pucker, also known as an epiretinal membrane, is the formation of scar tissue on the central part of the retina called the macula. The macula is responsible for the sharp, pinpoint vision necessary for daily activities like reading or driving. Eyes are filled with a gel-like substance known as the vitreous. Due to the aging process, the vitreous starts to shrink and pull away from the macula. Sometimes, the pulling of the vitreous from the macula can create microscopic damage to the retinal surface. As a result, the retina produces a healing response by forming scar tissue on the surface of the retina. Macular puckers are not always symptomatic, and rarely do they cause a significant disruption in vision. Most cases of macular puckers result in mild blurriness and distortion of vision. Since the symptoms can be mild, usually no treatment is necessary as the patient can adjust to the slight blurriness. In some cases of significant vision loss, the tissue can be surgically removed to improve the vision. Even with surgical intervention, the vision is usually not restored to preexisting levels, but significant improvements are usually noted.
A macular hole occurs when there is a break in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for pinpoint vision necessary for activities like reading and recognizing faces. Eyes are filled with a gel-like substance known as the vitreous. Due to the aging process, the vitreous starts to shrink and pull away from the macula. Sometimes, the pulling of the vitreous can be significant enough to stretch the macular tissue. Prolonged stretching of the macular tissue can cause the macula to tear and create a macular hole. Other causes may also include injury to the eye and macular puckers. Patients with a macular hole experience a gradual decline in central vision, often resulting in significant blurring and the presence of a dark spot in their central vision. Vitrectomy is the most common treatment for macular holes and has a success rate of over 90%. Despite the high success rate of the operation, patients may only regain most or a part of their vision.