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Retina Center

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Your retina is a part of your eye that you cannot see because it’s the thin tissue located at the back of your eye. Many vision problems stem from this light-sensitive area of your eye. In fact, if your retina sustains any type of injury or damage, you will experience significant changes in your eyesight. Here’s how the retina works:

  • Light enters your eye with the goal of landing onto your retina.
  • The retina receives the light via photoreceptor cells, converts it into electrical impulses and sends the information to your brain via the optic nerve.
  • Your brain translates the signals into the images you see.

If the retina is unable to properly process light entering your eyes, you can experience a wide range of symptoms such as dark spots, wavy lines, flashes of light, dull colors, vision loss and even blindness.

Retinal Diseases

There are many different types of retinal diseases that can be diagnosed and treated at Azul Vision. View the list below to see the symptoms and cause of some common retinal diseases. 

Macular Degeneration

Symptoms

  • Central vision loss
  • Blurriness
  • Dark areas
  • Straight lines appear wavy
  • Peripheral (side) vision remains clear

Cause

Deposits of yellow drusen build up under the center of your retina (the macula). This causes the area to become thin and dry. Later, abnormal, fragile blood vessels can grow under the macula which leak fluid or blood in the area, causing vision distortion.


Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms

There may be no symptoms in the early stages. As the disease progresses, you may start to experience:

  • Dark spots
  • Strings in your vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Changes in color perception

Cause

Blood vessels in the retina swell due to blood sugar fluctuations. These can leak fluid and eventually close. To compensate, your retina will grow abnormal, fragile blood vessels which will not give your retina the proper amount of blood flow for healthy vision.


Flashes & Floaters

Symptoms

  • Lines, spots or cobwebs in your vision
  • Flashes of light
  • Peripheral vision disturbance
  • Dark shadow over vision

Cause The vitreous gel inside your eye can start to clump together, shrink or thicken, causing floaters to appear across your line of vision. These are happening inside your eye, rather than on the outside, so you can’t wipe them away. Treatment is not typically required for floaters. If the gel starts to rub against the retina (flashes), this can lead to a retinal tear so you must have the condition monitored. 

Detached & Torn Retina

Symptoms

  • Lines, spots or cobwebs in your vision
  • Flashes of light
  • Dark shadow over vision
  • Wavy vision

Cause

The retina becomes separated from the nourishing cell layer. This can be caused by the shrinking and contracting of vitreous gel inside the eye that pulls on the retina. It can also be caused when fluid builds up under the retina due to trauma. This is a medical emergency and should be treated right away.

Geographic Atrophy

Symptoms

  • Black spot/vision loss in central vision
  • Glare
  • Hard to read in dim light environments
  • Decreased reading speed
  • Side (peripheral) vision is clear

Cause

This is an advanced form of dry macular degeneration that occurs when deposits of yellow drusen build up on the rods and cones (photoreceptor cells) in the center of your retina, causing those cells to die. Without those cells, your retina cannot create the electrical impulses needed to send information to the brain for interpretation.


Central Serous Retinopathy

Symptoms

Some people will not experience any symptoms while others may start to notice: 

  • Dark spots in central vision
  • Straight lines look wavy
  • Blurry vision in one eye
  • Sudden or gradual vision loss
  • Colors appear dull

Cause

Fluid builds up behind the central part of the retina, causing a retinal detachment in the area. This is more common in men age 30-50. This condition may resolve on its own, without medical treatment, if the fluid drains on its own. 

Macular Edema

Symptoms

  • Central vision becomes wavy and blurry
  • Colors appear dull
  • Vision loss

Cause

Fluid builds up behind the central part of the retina (macula), often due to fluid leaking from damaged blood vessels. The central area then starts to enlarge and thicken, causing vision disturbance. Diabetics are at risk of developing macular edema. 

Macular Holes and Puckers

Symptoms

  • Central vision distortion or loss
  • Straight lines look wavy
  • Dark or blind spot in central vision

Cause

The vitreous gel inside your eye can begin to shrink, causing a retinal detachment and scar tissue. Scar tissue that forms in the central part of your retina (the back of your eye) is called a macular pucker. An actual break in the nerve cell fibers of the central retina is a macular hole. You need a heathy macula so your eyes can create electrical impulses and deliver those to the brain for image processing.

Retinopathy of Prematurity

Symptoms

There are no outward symptoms of retinopathy of prematurity. Since this occurs in infants who are born prematurely, they will not be able to tell you how their vision is being affected.

Cause

Abnormal, fragile blood vessels grow on the retina of a newborn’s eyes – especially for those born prematurely. These new blood vessels can leak fluid, leading to scar tissue on the retina or a retinal detachment. If the condition is mild, no treatment may be necessary. Severe situations may need treatment to protect your child’s vision.   

Retinal Artery Occlusion

Symptoms

There may be no outward symptoms or you might experience sudden vision loss in one eye.

Cause

A blockage in any of the arteries in the retina can cause vision loss. This can be caused by a blood clot, high cholesterol or other conditions that prevent your arteries from carrying oxygen to the nerve cells in your retina. This can occur in your main artery or any of your branch arteries. There are techniques to remove the blockage in the early stages of this condition. 

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Symptoms

There may be no outward symptoms or you might experience these changes in one eye:

  • Dark spots
  • Lines in vision
  • Eye pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Sudden permanent blindness

Cause

A blockage in any of the tiny veins in the retina can cause vision problems or even permanent blindness. The blockage can be caused by a blood clot or a hardened artery that presses on a vein. This can prevent blood from draining from your retina, leading to increased eye pressure, swelling and fluid leaks. This can occur in your main vein or any of your branch veins.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Symptoms

  • Side (peripheral) vision loss
  • Tunnel vision
  • Poor vision in dark/dim situations
  • Blindness

Cause

This is a genetic disorder that prevents the rods and cones (photoreceptors) in your eyes from working properly. Rods are responsible for helping you see in dim light; cones help you see colors and fine details. Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) typically affects the rods first, then the cones. It often starts in childhood.

Inherited Retinal Conditions

Symptoms

  • Vision loss or wiggly eyes in infants
  • Night blindness
  • Central or side (peripheral) vision loss
  • Loss of color vision

Cause

There are different types of inherited retinal conditions that a person can be born with due to gene mutations. The vision disturbances can vary greatly, depending on the type of condition you have. Gene therapy treatments might be a treatment option. Genetic testing is necessary to identify the source of the vision problem.

Choroidal Nevus

Symptoms

There may be no outward symptoms of a choroidal nevus (a freckle inside your eye). If the freckle starts leaking fluid or thickens, it may cause a retinal detachment causing these symptoms:

  • Flashes or floaters
  • Limited peripheral vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Shadow over your vision

Cause

These are caused by the clumping of melanocyte cells inside your eyes. You can’t see a choroidal nevus and they cannot be surgically removed. If a retinal detachment occurs, there are ways to treat the condition. These are typically benign, but they can be malignant which could require radiation therapy or removal of the eye (in extreme situations).

Low Vision

Symptoms

  • Problems with your central or side (peripheral) vision
  • Depth perception issues
  • Problems with color perception
  • Difficulty seeing in dim environments
  • Blurry or distorted vision

Cause

There are many types of eye diseases that can cause you to have poor vision. Sometimes treatments are available to correct the eye disease, but this is not always the case. To help you live a better quality of life, there are different vision aids that can be incorporated into a vision rehabilitation program. These include magnifiers, telescopes, large print reading materials, sound capability for technical gadgets, strong light bulbs and more. 

Ocular Tumors

Symptoms

There may be no outward symptoms with certain types of ocular tumors or you might experience:

  • Floaters and flashes
  • Vision distortion or loss
  • Distortion in pupil shape
  • Discoloration of the iris
  • Brown spot on the eye

Cause

An ocular tumor forms when there is a collection of abnormal cells inside the eye. There are many different types of ocular tumors – some are benign while others can be malignant. They can be caused by genetic mutations or due to aging, exposure to UV light, etc. It is possible to treat malignant ocular tumors through radiation, chemotherapy or photodynamic therapy. Removal of the eye is also a treatment option if the condition is severe. 

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

Symptoms

There may be no outward symptoms or you may experience:

  • Flashes in your peripheral vision
  • Floaters
  • Dark spots
  • Shadows across your vision

Cause

Your eye is filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous. If this gel starts to shrink, it can pull at the retina, causing the vitreous to detach from the retina. Treatment may not be necessary unless the condition leads to a retinal tear, retinal detachment, macular hole or macular pucker. These are more serious conditions that will seriously impact your vision if left untreated.

Uveitis

Symptoms

  • Eye pain
  • Swelling
  • Floaters
  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness

Cause

Inflammation in the middle layer of your eye (the uvea) is called uveitis. It can be caused by an infection, inflammatory disease, autoimmune disease or an eye injury. It typically affects people age 20-50. This condition should be treated because it can lead to retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma or caused permanent vision loss.  

Retinal Disease Treatments

At Azul Vision, we offer a variety of treatments for the many types of retinal diseases. It is necessary for our team to fully assess your eye health to determine which type of treatment could help manage your condition and hopefully restore or protect your vision. Here are a few of the treatment options we offer:

Vitrectomy

The vitreous gel inside your eye is removed so your doctor has access to the retina. After any problems with the retina have been treated, the hollow space in your eye will be filled with a gas bubble, silicone oil or a saline solution. To promote healing of your eye after a vitrectomy, it will be necessary to follow your doctor’s recovery instructions completely. For example, if there is a gas bubble put in place, it will be necessary to maintain a specific position until the eye has fully healed.

Photodynamic Therapy

During photodynamic therapy, a light-sensitive drug is injected into a vein in your arm or hand. This is done to target abnormal blood vessels that have formed due to the wet form of macular degeneration or other retinal diseases. A contact lens is placed on your eye and a laser light is directed onto the spot where the abnormal blood vessels have formed under the center of your retina (macula). The goal is to seal the leaky, weak blood vessels that are contributing to your vision problems. Several treatments may be necessary and the procedure is not always 100% effective.

If you are experiencing any type of vision problem, please don’t ignore your symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment could save your eyesight

Stay proactive with your eye health.

Schedule an Eye Exam today! 


Contact Azul Vision Today!