Diseases of the Eye
This is the appearance of a normal retina. Note the optic nerve, macula, and fovea, which is the very center of the macula, responsible for fine central vision. Scroll down to see common conditions of the retina.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-Related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the United States. The "dry" form involves changes in the pigment layer under the central retina, known as the "macula". The "wet" form involves abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid and blood to cause a blinding scar with loss of central vision; it can sometimes be treated with laser or photodynamic therapy.
Diabetic retinopathy causes abnormalities in retinal blood vessels, which leak or bleed to cause loss of vision. The abnormal blood vessels can also lead to scarring to cause retinal detachment. Diabetic retinopathy is often treated with laser to decrease leakage from the blood vessels and prevent further blood vessel abnormalities. Vitrectomy can be performed to remove blood and treat retinal detachment.
Macular hole typically occurs in women over age 60 years and results when the vitreous gel pulls the central retina to lead to a stretch hole in the macula. Symptoms include central blurring, distorted vision, and/or loss of central vision. It is treated with vitrectomy to remove the gel and temporarily replace it with a gas bubble.
Macular pucker involves wrinking of the macula leading to blurred and distorted vision. The wrinkle is caused by thin membrane-scar, due to conditions such as vitreous detachment, torn retina, ocular inflammation, eye injuries, or retinal blood vessel abnormities. If severe enough, vitrectomy can be performed to remove gel and scar tissue.
Posterior Vitreous Detachment
Posterior vitreous detachment occurs when the vitreous gel in the eye collapses with age (usually after age 60 years) and separates from the retina. This is typically associated with new floaters or flashing lights, and can lead to retinal tears and retinal detachment. No treatment is required, but a careful examination is necessary to detect retinal tears or detachment.
Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates from the back of the eye, leading to permanent blindness if it is not surgically reattached. Typical symptoms include flashing lights, new floaters, or decreased vision. This can be treated with a gas bubble (pneumatic retinopexy), placement of a band around the eye (scleral buckle), or reattachment of the retina by replacing vitreous gel with gas or silicone-oil.
Uveitis represents inflammation in the eye. It is sometimes caused by systemic diseases and may require immunosuppression with steroids.
Central or Branch Retinal Artery and Vein Occlusions involve blockage of the retinal arteries or veins, sometimes associated with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or inflammation. Laser treatment can sometimes be performed to control swelling due to vein occlusions.