THE TYPES OF EYE CONDITIONS WE TREAT AS RETINAL SPECIALISTS
Retinal blood vessels become damage after years of poor control of diabetes. This results in leakage into and swelling of the macula (the center of vision) with loss of vision. In addition, bleeding into the retina and vitreous (center of the eye) can result in scar formation which often pulls on the retina resulting in a retinal detachment with permanent loss of vision.
You may have diabetic retinopathy for many years without noticing any change in vision. Symptoms do not usually occur until much later, after the damage is done. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include blurred or distorted vision. However, you may not have any change in your vision long after the damage is done. Injection of medicine into the eyes, laser and surgery are used to preserve and restore vision.
This is a very common potentially blinding eye condition associated with aging. It has a genetic predisposition (tends to run in families) and is associated with smoking.
There are at least two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. The dry type is a slow wearing out of the retina (film in the ere of the camera) whereas the wet type is associated with the growth of new blood vessels in and under the retina, which if left untreated will result in blindness. We currently have treatments for only the wet type of macular degeneration. However, the progression of dry macular degeneration can be helped by treating with eye vitamins and supplements. Wet macular degeneration can be helped by treated with injection of medicine into the eyeball and rarely laser.
Symptoms of wet macular degeneration include blurred vision, distortion or wavy lines. If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your retina specialist immediately for evaluation and treatment to avoid blindness.
RETINAL VENOUS DISEASE
A common aging problem of the retina is blockage in the retinal veins that drain blood from the retina back to the heart. This results in poor vision from swelling of the macula (center of vision) or from the development of new fragile blood vessels growing on the retina leading to bleeding, scarring and retinal detachment.
Risk factors associated with this condition includes smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and aging.
This condition can be treated with injections of medicine into the eyeball, laser and surgery.
RETINAL TEARS AND DETACHMENTS
As the eye ages, the vitreous gel in the center of the eyeball tends to dehydrate and shrink. In so doing, it can pull and tug on the retina causing a retinal tear. This process is often associated with flashes, floaters and shadows. Sometimes but not always, these symptoms are associated with retinal tears which if left untreated can lead to the development of a retinal detachment with subsequent permanent loss of vision. The only way to tell if a tear has occurred in the retina is with a dilated retinal exam. If a tear is discovered, it can be easily treated with an in office laser. A retinal detachment usually causes the symptom of a curtain or veil coming over the vision. This is generally treated by in hospital outpatient surgery.
As we age, sometimes freckles develop in our eyes similar to the way develop on our skin. Freckles inside of the eyes rarely turn into melanomas (tumors).
However, if they do, caught early these are easily treated by surgically putting radioactive plaques onto the eyeball and leaving them in place for about one week afterward they are easily removed allowing the tumor to shrink and disappear. This not only preserves vision but can also save lives.
RETINOPATHY OF PREMATURITY
This is a retinal condition seen almost always in very premature babies. Because some babies are born very early, their eyes and retina (the film is the camera of the eye) is not completely developed. Sometimes, as the retina continues to develop after the baby is born, blood vessels within the retina grow incorrectly. As a result, they are very fragile and tend to bleed which causes scarring and blindness. This can be prevented by treating with injections of medicine into the eyes or with laser.