The retina is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, and it plays a vital role in your ability to perceive images. Symptoms of retina conditions can include blurred, distorted vision, or blind spots. Some retina conditions, like retinal detachment, should be treated as a medical emergency. If you are experiencing problems with your vision, it is imperative that you seek prompt attention from a reputable ophthalmologist. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your chances of preserving your vision. Our doctors can use a number of diagnostic methods to assess the health of your retina and determine the best course of treatment.
Diabetes affects circulation throughout the body. Diabetic retinopathy develops when blood vessels that supply oxygen to the retina become damaged. Although diabetic retinopathy can initially cause only mild vision problems, or lack symptoms altogether, the progressive disease can result in blindness. As diabetic retinopathy advances, you may experience blurred or fluctuating vision, an increase in floaters, blind spots, and trouble perceiving colors correctly.
If you are diabetic, the best way to protect your vision is to practice healthy lifestyle habits and undergo annual eye exams.
Some patients with diabetic retinopathy will also develop macular degeneration. This condition affects the macula (the center of the retina), which is integral to your central field of vision. Macular degeneration can be either wet or dry. Dry macular degeneration refers to a thinning or deterioration of the macula. Treatment aims to slow this deterioration, and research suggests a diet rich in certain antioxidants may be beneficial. Wet macular degeneration, which is characterized by the development of abnormal blood vessels that can easily hemorrhage, can result in severe and sudden vision loss. Vision loss can be deterred with laser treatment.
Flashes and Floaters
Flashes are bright flashes of light, most often observed in your peripheral vision. Floaters are small, dark objects that cross our vision and appear to move as we move our eyes. Floaters are actually shadows of particles floating in the gel-like fluid inside the eye. A sudden increase in flashes and floaters can be a sign of a serious eye condition, such as the vitreous gel separating from the retina. This can result in a retinal tear that, if left untreated, can develop into retinal detachment.
Retinal Tears and Detachment
After the delicate tissue of the retina becomes torn, fluid can leak under the retina and lift it up. Eventually, a total detachment may occur. The longer this layer of tissue is separated from the blood vessels that supply it with oxygen and nutrients, the greater your risk of suffering permanent vision loss. Retinal detachment should be treated as a medical emergency, and often requires surgery to correct. Fortunately, the condition produces clear warning signs. In addition to an increase in flashes and floaters, a shadow or curtain-like image may progressively cover your field of vision.