The retina is a vital part to eye function, capturing images from the eye and sending them along to the brain for detection. In order to get a retina evaluation, it requires a thorough examination of a dilated eye and advanced imaging techniques. Techniques to correct retina-related issues are very delicate, requiring an expert hand and experienced eye doctor in Orange County to perform the procedures correctly.
Learn about Common Retina Diseases
In the case of diabetic retinopathy, the retina is damaged by complications of diabetes and can eventually lead to blindness. It may develop in patients who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and in longer cases of diabetes the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy is increased significantly. Diabetic retinopathy is characterized by the incidence of abnormal blood vessels developing in the eyes, which cause irregular drainage and distribution of fluid in the eyes.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:
- Vision obstructed by floaters
- Blurred vision
- Changing vision
- Blind spots
- Vision loss
- Incorrect color perception
- Diabetic retinopathy generally affects both eyes
Depending upon signs and symptoms, diabetic retinopathy may be categorized as early or advanced.
Treatment and Drugs
As with most eye diseases, treatment for diabetic retinopathy depends upon the type of condition contracted. It is also affected by the severity of the condition and how it may have responded to earlier treatments. Treatment options for diabetic retinopathy include:
- Focal laser treatment, which can be used to stop or slow leakage of blood and fluid in the eye.
- Scatter laser treatment, which serves to shrink the abnormal blood vessels.
- Vitrectomy, which removes blood from the middle of the eye to manage symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.
- Eye injections may be used to apply medication into the vitreous fluid in the eye.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is a deterioration of the macula, which is responsible for central vision, allowing clear vision of fine details. AMD occurs primarily in patients age 50 and older. It leads the causes of vision loss in older adults.
How is AMD detected?
Early and intermediate stages of AMD can be asymptomatic, in which case only a comprehensive eye exam will detect its existence. Eye exams to detect early onset of AMD include the following procedures:
- Visual acuity test to measure sight at a distance
- Dilated eye exam so the eye doctor may better see the back of the eye.
- Amsler grid to detect how vision may be altered
- Fluorescein angiogram, using dye and special imaging techniques to detect abnormal blood vessels
Most early forms of AMD are considered dry AMD. It occurs in about 90% of patients afflicted with AMD. With dry AMD, the light-sensitive cells in the macula gradually break down, causing blurring in the central vision of the affected eye. As this condition worsens, patients frequently detect a blurred spot in the center of their vision. This may be referred to as "geographic atrophy."
Over time, central vision in the affected eye can be slowly lost as the macula functions less.
Wet AMD affects the remaining 10 percent of patients with AMD. It is more severe than dry AMD.
Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina begin to grow underneath the macula. These blood vessels are delicate, frequently leaking blood and other fluid. This leakage causes the macula to swell, causing swift damage to the eye.
While loss of central vision can occur quickly, the specialists at Atlantis Eyecare can stop the progression if it is detected before severe vision loss takes place.
What are the symptoms?
In the early stages of wet AMD, straight lines can appear wavy. Patients can also develop a blind spot, resulting in a loss of central vision.
Should you notice these specific symptoms as well as any other vision changes, contact your eye doctor immediately. It is important to treat eye conditions before severe vision loss occurs.
Treatment options for wet AMD
With wet AMD, early detection is key. With it, the progression of the disease can be slowed or stopped, preserving your vision. Wet AMD can result in severe vision loss, but early detection contributes to prevention and effective treatment. While the symptoms of wet AMD may be effectively managed, the following treatment types are not a cure.
- Drug injections into the eye, which can serve to slow the progression of wet AMD.
- Photodynamic therapy is an effective treatment that destroys abnormal blood vessels using focused light in conjunction with injected drugs. This technique may restore vision where it has been lost.
- Laser retina surgery may be used, although it is less common. It applies a laser directly against abnormal blood vessels to destroy them, although it carries the risk of also destroying surrounding healthy tissue.
Our eye doctors deliver retina surgery in Newport Beach, in addition to various other treatment methods, depending on what is best for the patient. Your doctor will meet with you to find out what the best treatment plan is for you.