Research has shown that more than 1.3 billion people have vision impairment that requires correction with contact lenses or glasses in order to see with full clarity. In addition to being born with poor vision, our vision also declines as we age due to various changes in the shape of the eyeball or a decreased ability to process visual images.
For example, over 200,000 people in the US are affected by retina problems beyond normal vision correction needs. These problems can cause total blindness if left untreated. Let’s find out about what retina issues can affect your vision and how to find the right treatment to protect your eyesight.
The retina is a layer of thin tissue that is sensitive to light found in the back of the eyeball. It contains cells called rods and cones that respond to wavelengths of light and generate electrical impulses that the brain interprets as vision. This information travels along the optic nerve and is highly sensitive to changes in the health of the retina that directly affect how well or how clearly a person can see.
Certain medical conditions that affect the retina’s blood vessels and tissues can increase the risk of retinopathy, the term that applies to diseases of the retina. Some of these conditions include:
Several types of disorders can affect the retina, from injury to illness. These are the causes of some of the most common retinal problems.
A retinal tear occurs when the retina has a hole or tear in its tissue layer. Pressure or other changes of the vitreous, a jelly-like substance that fills the interior of the eyeball, can cause a retinal tear, which leads to blurry vision or sudden onset of flashes of light.
Fluid buildup can cause retinal detachment, which can begin with a tear in the retina, detaching the retina from the choroid. The choroid is a layer found between the sclera and retina, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the eye.
Epiretinal membranes (ERMs) occur with the formation of a clear, translucent, and thin layer of tissue on the retina’s inner surface. The disorder has no symptoms except when the macula is affected.
Macular degeneration is a common disorder among older adults. It causes macula deterioration and can lead to permanent vision loss.
Retinitis is an inflammation of the retina, usually caused by bacteria and viruses. Common infections that can lead to retinitis include Dengue fever, Syphillis, Lyme disease, and Lupus.
Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is caused by a disorder in the retina vein branches, leading to the leakage of blood and other fluids over the retina, which can affect visual acuity.
While there are many types of retina disorders, they share symptoms in many cases. Common retinal symptoms that could point to an issue with the retina include:
Your ophthalmologist will first ask about your medical history to diagnose the above eye conditions. This background will give them an awareness of your lifestyle and potential risk factors for retinal issues. Then, they will do a comprehensive eye examination, focusing more on the retina and macula. They may use an ophthalmoscope and other diagnostic tools to investigate the inner parts of the eye.
The ophthalmologist may request an ultrasound or use eye drops to dilate the pupil to get a clear vision of the inner eye. Also, they can use optical coherence tomography (OCT) to take images or the retina or conduct dye tests to check for blood vessel leakages.
Retinal disorders are treatable, but they depend on the extent and type of the condition. Some of the available treatments include:
At Kung Eye Center, we have a team of professionals who diagnose and treat different retinal conditions and diseases. Call (929) 429-2928 for our New York location and (732) 724-2535 for the New Jersey office to schedule a consultation at a location that’s convenient for you. You can also start a conversation with our team by filling out our online contact form today.