There are other less common disorders of the retina, but regular eye exams can help our ophthalmologist identify any symptoms and start treatment before permanent, irreversible damage is done. Dr. George Waring is a highly-accomplished, nationally recognized leader in eye correction surgery, and responsible for developing some of the most advanced surgical treatments for vision correction. The friendly and extremely knowledgeable staff at the Waring Vision Institute in Charleston, SC can provide you with a comprehensive eye exam to keep your vision healthy, and treat virtually any developing condition or disease. If a retinal disorder requires a retina specialist, Dr. Waring and his staff will refer you to the best providers in the area.
The retina is the layer of tissue on the back wall of the eye that detects light and sends images to the brain. The lens of the eye functions to focus the light at the back of the eye, creating an image on the retina, which are then sent instantly by electrical pulses to your brain. Myopia and hyperopia are defects in the lens of the eye that cause the image to focus in front of the retina or behind it, producing a blurred image. There are also disorders of the retina which can affect sight, and in some cases lead to blindness.
In the center of the retina is a small region called the macula that functions to reveal the fine details in your central vision. When photoreceptors in the macula start to deteriorate, a phenomenon called macular degeneration, it can cause blurred central vision the loss of the ability to perceive fine details. It can be caused by fat and protein deposits developing under the retina, or an excess of blood vessels forming beneath the macula which leak blood and fluid that damages the macular photoreceptors. This condition may progress rapidly and lead to a substantial loss of central vision.
Retinal detachment occurs when the vitreous, the clear gel that fills the eye, shrinks and pulls away from the retina. Fluid may pass through the tear in the retina and continue to separate these two critical parts of the eye structure. The initial symptoms may be the appearance of many floaters, flashes of light, blurred vision, or a black field covering a portion of your vision. The only way to repair retinal detachment is a specialized surgical procedure.
Diabetic or Hypertensive Retinopathy
Damage to the retina can be caused by certain medical conditions, including diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure). High sugar levels caused by diabetes can weaken the walls of the smaller blood vessels in the retina. If the blood vessels are damaged, blood and other body fluids can leak into the eye structure and damage photoreceptors on the retina. Hypertension causes the walls of small blood vessels to thicken to counteract damage done by high blood pressure, which in turn reduces blood flow to the retinas. If there is damage to the photoreceptors or the macula due to hypertension, your vision is at risk. Lowering blood pressure and keeping diabetes well under control can help reduce the risk of retinopathy, along with regular eye exams to identify the early symptoms of this dangerous condition.
Though cancer of the eyes is rare, retinoblastoma is one of the more common forms of eye cancer, affecting the retina. Treatment varies based on how far the cancer has advanced. Early detection is vital. Watch for the following symptoms:
- Eye pain
- Lazy eye
- Bulging or bleeding of the eye
- Pupil appears white or pink in the light
- Problems with vision
Retinoblastoma occurs mostly in young children, so it is also important to get your children’s eyes checked regularly.