The retina is an integral part of the eye. It receives the images we see and transmits them to the brain. Damage to the retina can result in severe loss of vision. Disorders related to the retina include macular degeneration, retinal detachment, flashes and floaters, diabetic or hypertensive retinopathy and torn retinas. Laser treatments or surgery may be required to treat these retinal disorders.
Macular degeneration affects the macula which is the central part of the retina. It is unclear what causes macular degeneration, however, in this disease, the macular tissue deteriorates and/or abnormal blood vessels develop in the macula. Eventually, these changes lead to blurred or distorted vision. Although macular degeneration is incurable, the disease can be managed today more successfully than ever before with lasers, injections of medicine into the eye, surgery or low vision aids.
Diabetes can severely damage the retina. Bleeding in the retina and swelling of the retina from diabetes can both cause significantly reduced vision by damaging retina tissue.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy range from mild, blurred vision to complete vision loss. Effective treatment for diabetic retinopathy depends upon the progression of the disease and ranges from improved blood sugar control to laser treatments and surgery.
Retinal Detachment occurs when the retina splits from the back of the eye because of injury, infection, inflammation or other causes. Patients who suffer from symptoms such as sudden flashes of light, floating spots in the vision, or hazy vision, may be having a retinal detachment and must immediately visit an ophthalmologist for treatment to prevent permanent vision loss. The range of treatment options, including laser surgery or insertion of devices to hold the retina in place, is dependent on the degree of detachment suffered.