What is the Retina?
The retina is a tissue located along the inner wall of the eye, all the way in the back. Made up of millions of photoreceptor cells, the retina is extremely light sensitive. The retina is a very complex piece of tissue and is essential in order to see.
The retina is responsible for receiving the light that comes into the eye, and then processing the light into brain signals, which reach the brain through the optic nerve. A healthy retina is essential to good vision. Unfortunately, the retina is susceptible to many different types of disease.
Common Retinal Diseases
Macular degeneration is an eye disease during which the macula begins to deteriorate. The macula is the central portion of the retina, and is responsible for sharp, central vision. Macular degeneration causes vision loss, but not complete blindness. It is a progressive disease, meaning it will get worse over time without treatment. Most people do not realize they have macular degeneration until vision loss has occurred. Of great importance is to initiate steps to prevent, or at least greatly minimize, photoreceptor damage and diminished vision from macular degeneration. Dr. Mendelsohn and Dr. Klein are avid believers in preventive care and have developed considerable expertise in these invaluable efforts. These preventive efforts can be sight saving. Please thoroughly review our Five Steps to Maintaining Your Macular Health and conscientiously adhere to these basic steps to help protect your eyes from macular degeneration.
This is a genetic disease that usually results in difficulty seeing over time. During your annual eye exam, should your doctor notice a decrease in your peripheral vision, color or night vision, they may need to run tests to determine if retinitis pigmentosa is the cause. While there is no single method to treat this disease, your ophthalmologist can recommend a treatment plan.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetics are susceptible to many different eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy and/or diabetic maculopathy. Please see our website section, Diabetic Eye Disease for more depth of coverage on this very important topic. Diabetic Retinopathy/Maculopathy occurs when uncontrolled blood sugar levels begin to affect the tiny blood vessels on the retina. These blood vessels swell and leak blood and fluid into the eye, causing vision loss. Also diabetics have a far greater prevalence of glaucoma and macular edema. Our physicians will counsel you one-on-one on how to prevent or markedly reduce the incidence and extent of diabetic induced retinopathy, maculopathy and glaucoma. These preventative efforts can be sight saving.
Retinopathy of Prematurity
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is an eye disease that can occur in babies born prematurely. The cause is the growth of abnormal blood vessels on the retina, which can impair vision and lead to blindness. While this disease can naturally go away, if it does not, it can be treated by an ophthalmologist.
To treat Retinopathy of Prematurity, your ophthalmologist can use either laser or freezing treatments to destroy the portion of the retina where the abnormal blood growths are occurring. While most eye diseases are treatable by your ophthalmologist, it’s important to remember that the best form of treatment is prevention through annual eye exams. Catching the disease and treating it early can make a lasting difference in the quality of your vision and the quality of your life.