Retinal Diseases

Diabetic retinopathy :

It is a complication of diabetes that can cause severe vision loss or even blindness. This disease is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. Blurred vision may occur when the macula – the part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision – swells from the leaking fluid. This condition is called macular edema. If new vessels have grown on the surface of the retina, they can bleed into the eye, blocking vision.

Anyone with diabetes is likely to get diabetic retinopathy. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy. Between 40-45 percent of those with diagnosed diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy. All people with diabetes need to get a dilated eye exam at least once a year to detect diabetic retinopathy. Often there are not symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Vision may not change until the disease becomes severe. But, even in more advanced cases, the disease may progress a long way without symptoms. That is why regular eye examinations for people with diabetes are so important.

The treatment of diabetic retinopathy include control of blood sugar level , control of blood pressure and decrease blood cholesterol, LASER surgery (retinal photocoagulation) and vitrectomy surgery in severe cases. Laser surgery and appropriate follow-up care can reduce the risk of blindness by 90 percent. However, laser surgery often cannot restore vision that has already been lost. That is why finding diabetic retinopathy early is the best way to prevent vision loss.

Retinal detachment :

A retinal detachment is a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness unless treated. The appearance of flashing lights, floating objects, or a gray curtain moving across the field of vision are all indications of a retinal detachment. If any of these occur, see an ophthalmologist right away. Retinal tears increase the chance of developing a retinal detachment. Fluid vitreous, passing through the tear, lifts the retina off the back of the eye like wallpaper peeling off a wall. Laser surgery or cryotherapy (freezing) are often used to seal retinal tears and prevent detachment. If the retina is detached, it must be reattached with surgery before sealing the retinal tear.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD):

Is one of the most common causes of poor vision after age 60. AMD is a deterioration or breakdown of the macula. The macula is a small area at the center of the retina. The visual symptoms of AMD involve loss of central vision. While peripheral (side) vision is unaffected, one loses the vision necessary for looking at detail. AMD seems to be part of aging. While age is the most significant risk factor for developing AMD, heredity, blue eyes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and smoking have also been identified as risk factors. AMD accounts for 90 percent of new legal blindness in the US.