The retina is a light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of your eye. It relays messages to your brain through the optic nerve. There are many diseases and eye conditions that affect the health of your retina and can damage your vision. Scheduling an appointment to investigate worrisome symptoms or vision changes is best to maintain healthy eyes and diagnose retinal problems early.
Our Ophthalmologists are highly trained in retinal disease and regularly contribute to research. St. Michael’s Eye & Laser Institute uses state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and our eye doctors believe in providing compassionate, high-quality care to every patient. We work to provide a welcoming atmosphere where you feel comfortable during every visit to our Largo office.
Retinal Disease Causes and Symptoms
Most retinal diseases will cause vision changes, though some may be less noticeable than others. These conditions may affect a portion of the retina, such as the macula. The causes and symptoms of these eye problems depend on the type of retinal disease or disorders. Some of the common issues with the retina include:
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) typically affects people who are over age 5 and have a family history of this eye disease. The macula starts to deteriorate, and protein clumps (drusen) develop and impact vision, causing central vision loss. You may see wavy lines or have black spots in your field of vision. Wet AMD causes rapid vision loss, while dry AMD slowly steals your sight.
People with diabetes are more prone to certain eye diseases. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar affects the blood vessels in the back part of your eye. These blood vessels leak fluid and blood in and under the retina, and weaker blood vessels develop in their place that also break and bleed and may cause macula scarring. You may have blurry vision, empty spaces, or increased floaters or strings in your eyesight.
The middle of your eye is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance. Retinal tears occur when the vitreous shrinks and pulls the retina away from the back surface of the eye, and the pressure causes the light-sensitive tissue to break or tear. You will often experience a sudden increase in eye floaters and flashing lights when a retinal tear occurs. Vitreous shrinks with age, making retinal tears and other issues more common in older generations.
Retinal detachment is a medical emergency that happens when the retina tissue separates from the back of the eye, severing its ties with vital blood vessels that nourish the retina and provide oxygen. It’s imperative to treat retinal detachment immediately to avoid permanent vision loss. A sudden onslaught of specks or floaters in your field of vision is a warning sign, as are blurred vision, flashes, decreased peripheral vision and a sense of a curtain or shadow falling over your eyesight.
An eye injury or abnormal friction between the vitreous and retina can cause a hole to develop in the macula. Commonly caused by the natural aging process, a macular hole may be secondary to another eye disease or occur after an eye injury. You may have distorted, blurry vision that causes straight lines to appear wavy or have black spots in your central vision.
An epiretinal membrane is a scar that tugs on the retina and lays on top of the light-sensitive tissue, similar to “crinkled cellophane.” This eye condition causes distorted vision with a visual field that appears blurry or crooked and is caused by the jelly-like vitreous pulling away from the retina. An epiretinal membrane may happen after surgery or due to inflammation in the eye.
This is a hereditary degenerative eye disease that slowly damages the retina and leads to loss of central or side vision, difficulty seeing at night, glare and other symptoms.
These are a few of many potential retinal diseases and conditions. Our Ophthalmologists have decades of experience diagnosing and treating problems with the retina.
Retinal Disease Treatment Options
Retinal treatment for the diseases and conditions listed above depends on the cause, symptoms and degree of vision loss. Some of these conditions have no established treatments, but specific lifestyle changes may mitigate disease progression. Medications, laser treatment or eye surgery may be needed to restore vision or prevent further vision loss. Our eye doctors have ample experience treating patients with retinal disease and can determine the best way to improve your eye health during a comprehensive eye exam.
Contact St. Michael’s Eye & Laser institute
If you’re experiencing vision changes or symptoms of retinal disease, contact our Ophthalmologists in Largo, Florida, today by calling (727) 584-2200 or filling out our online contact form.
St. Michael’s Eye & Laser Institute is a third-generation, family-owned eye care office serving patients in the Tampa Bay area.