Proper retina disease treatment requires a proper diagnosis, as well as diligent patients who stay on top of their health by recognizing their risk factors and eye condition symptoms. As soon as something starts feeling wrong, we highly advise that you schedule an appointment with an eye specialist in order to receive the swiftest diagnosis and the most appropriate retina disease treatment option for your needs. Your eyes will thank you.
Common retinal problems
The question, “What is the most common retinal disease?” is actually relatively difficult to answer. Age, comorbid conditions such as diabetes, gender, genetics, and other factors all increase a patient’s risk of developing a specific eye issue. Rather, the more appropriate question an individual concerned about retinal disease should ask revolves around what the most common problem is for their particular circumstances. These can include the following issues, as well as other retinal conditions not listed here.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of legal blindness among working-age Americans. The condition occurs when high blood sugar damages the blood cells in the retina. It’s critical that diabetics receive routine ophthalmological exams, as diabetic retinopathy does not cause pain, nor any physical abnormalities to the outside of the eye. The condition can only be detected via testing a dilated pupil.
Flashes and floaters
Flashes and floaters can either be an eye condition in and of itself, or they may signify the presence of an underlying ocular disease. Floaters are seen as clouds or lines that seem to float in your field of vision. Flashes, which may be associated with floaters, appear as flickers of light.
Most of the time, flashes and floaters are temporary and relatively harmless, albeit annoying. It’s still recommended to visit an eye doctor for testing if they persist or worsen to make sure some other condition isn’t to blame.
Macular degeneration is the most common cause of severe visual loss in people over the age of 50. More than 8 million people in the United States alone have some form of this disease. The most common form of the condition, which comes in various subtypes, occurs as a result of aging. Also known as “age-related macular degeneration,” it usually affects people over 60 and may worsen at age 75.
From there, macular degeneration can be categorized as “wet” (neovascular) or “dry” (non-neovascular). Scheduling routine tests using an Amsler grid can catch all types of this disease early. While macular degeneration moves slowly, the sooner the doctor catches it, the better the odds of restoring the patient’s eyesight fully.
Retinal tears and detachment
Retinal tears and detachment occur when part of the retina separates from the back wall of the eye, which leads to permanent blindness if unaddressed. In fact, most surgeries for these conditions are scheduled a day or two after diagnosis to ensure the patient’s vision remains as intact as possible.
There are three major types of retinal tears and detachment:
- Rhegmatogenous: The sensory layer breaks, leading to fluid buildup separating the retinal layers.
- Tractional: Most commonly caused by diabetic retinopathy, scar tissue on your retina pulls your retina away from the back of your eye.
- Exudative: An excess of fluid leading to the retina causes a separation from the back wall of the eye.
A macular hole occurs when the vitreous — a substance inside the eye with a jelly consistency — starts to pull on the retina’s central portion largely responsible for vision, also known as the macula. This condition occurs most often in women over the age of 60 and it doesn’t typically indicate any other eye issues. Macular hole eye surgery is required to fix the problem if the problem results in compromised vision; otherwise, many ophthalmologists will leave harmless holes alone.
Epiretinal membrane (ERM), also referred to as “macular pucker,” is a cellophane-like membrane that forms over the macula. It is typically a slow-progressing problem that affects the central vision by causing blur and distortion. While this condition sometimes goes away on its own, macular pucker surgery can restore vision in the event it does not.
Retinal vein occlusion
Both retinal vein occlusive disease and central retinal vein occlusion are types of retinal vein occlusion, which impact the blood vessels inside the eye.
Retinal vein occlusive disease is an eye condition commonly seen by retinal specialists. It is second only to diabetic retinopathy as a cause of visual loss due to retinal vascular disease. Central retinal vein occlusion is the closure of the final retinal vein (located at the optic nerve), which collects all of the blood after it passes through the capillaries.
Central serous chorioretinopathy
Central serous chorioretinopathy is a retinal disorder that affects the macula. This condition occurs when the macula detaches from its base due to an excess of fluid behind it. The exact cause of central serous chorioretinopathy remains unknown, though most cases do clear up without the need for surgical intervention within a few months.
What are signs of retina problems?
Although all retina issues have different root causes, they do tend to share similar symptoms. Only a trip to an ophthalmologist for a retinal diagnostic test — which may involve a vision test, pupil dilation, an Amsler grid, or angiograms — can reveal the true nature of the condition.
The major signs of retina problems include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Vision loss, particularly in the peripheral
- Blurred or otherwise distorted vision
- Dimmed vision
- Floaters, flashes, and webbing effects over the eye
- Blind spots
Although many retina diseases end up repairing themselves over time without surgical intervention, it is still highly recommended to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Many retinal conditions result in permanent blindness if left untreated, so the earlier a problem gets caught, the easier it becomes to restore a patient to their full original vision.
What happens if the retina is not treated?
Without retina disease treatment, many serious issues such as diabetic retinopathy and retinal tears and detachment may blind a patient permanently. Even if the worst doesn’t come to worst, a patient could still experience significant vision loss. The most serious retinal diseases usually lead to surgery within one to two days of diagnosis. Waiting any longer than that may mean the difference between vision restoration and vision loss.
This is why it is important to put your care into the hands of experienced and capable retinal specialists like the ones from Eye Center of Texas.
The surgeons at Eye Center of Texas provide a variety of retina disease treatments
If you’re in need of a retina specialist in Houston, the team at Eye Center of Texas treats a variety of eye diseases in addition to performing all minor and major ocular surgeries. Larry M. Puthenparambil, M.D. and Paul J. Stewart M.D. specialize in retina disease treatment to prevent blindness and restore vision in patients facing eye issues. Contact us online or give us a call at (713) 797-1010 to schedule an appointment today.