Retina and Vitreous
BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists diagnoses and treats macular, retinal and vitreous disorders
The macula is the part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision.
The retina is the back inner surface of the eye that detects light and passes impulses to the optic nerve. If the retina is damaged, vision may be impaired.
The vitreous is a clear gel located between the retina and lens of the eye. The vitreous is loosely attached to the retina. The vitreous helps the eye maintain its shape, acts as a shock absorber and transmits light to the retina. It is vital to normal eyesight.
Our retinal specialists are ophthalmologists who focus on the diseases in the back of the eye such as diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, trauma and infection.
How are macular, retinal and vitreous disorders treated?
Problems with the macula, retina and vitreous may lead to impaired vision and perhaps blindness. Treatments include laser procedures, surgery and injections. These treatments are most effective when conditions are diagnosed and treated early.
What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a common eye condition among older adults. It is caused by the breakdown of pigment cells behind the macula, destroying the macula and damaging the retina. Symptoms include difficulty seeing detail, needing brighter light to see or read, blind spots in the center of vision, blurred or crooked vision, or diminished color vision.
Macular degeneration progresses at varying rates. It affects the center of vision, but not peripheral vision. It does not cause blindness. There is no cure for macular degeneration. Treatment includes photodynamic laser therapy, medication and dietary supplements.
Macular degeneration is more common in people with family histories of macular degeneration, high blood pressure and/or cardiovascular disease. Other risk factors include smoking, light skin, light eye color, extreme sun exposure, cataracts and farsightedness.
What are eye floaters?
Eye floaters are a common eye condition, especially among older adults. Eye floaters are spots that often appear as specks or strings drifting across the eye. They are caused by vitreous cells and tissue that clump together, creating tiny shadows on the retina. A warning sign is a sudden increase in eye floaters, particularly if combined with flashes of light and/or a loss of peripheral vision.
What is a detached or torn retina?
A detached retina occurs when the retina pulls away from the lining of the inner back wall of the eye, allowing vitreous fluid to seep inside or beneath the retina. Symptoms include flashes of light, increased eye floaters and darkening of peripheral vision.
A torn retina can occur when the vitreous membrane pulls on the retina.
A detached retina can be caused by a torn retina, retina holes or from scar tissue in the vitreous or on the surface of the retina.
A detached or torn retina should be repaired as soon as possible to avoid permanent vision loss. Treatment for a torn or detached retina includes laser sealing, freezing with cryotherapy, securing the retina with a tiny belt, or removing the vitreous.
Those most at risk for a detached retina are people over age 40, men, nearsighted people, those with a family history of detached retinas, and those who have had cataract surgery, torn retinas or eye injuries.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that occurs when high blood sugar damages and weakens blood vessels that support the retina. Vision may become blurred or clouded with eye floaters. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy may cause blindness.
Treatment depends on the severity of diabetic retinopathy. Laser treatments can stabilize the condition and are most successful when problems are detected early. Treatment for advanced cases can include injections, lasers and surgery.
What is a macular hole?
Macular holes are small breaks in the macula, the center part of retina responsible for sharp, central vision. They occur when the vitreous shrinks and attaches and creates a hole in the macula. That may cause a blind spot in the central vision. In most cases, surgery is necessary to repair the hole.
What is a macular pucker?
A macular pucker is a layer of scar tissue on the surface of the macula, the center part of retina responsible for sharp, central vision. In most cases, vision is restored after vitreous surgery and the removal of scar tissue.
What is a posterior vitreous detachment?
A posterior vitreous detachment is common eye condition that occurs when the vitreous separates from the inner back wall of the eye. It often is associated with eye floaters and light flashes. It is a normal part of the aging process. It typically doesn’t require treatment. However, it can lead to a torn or detached retina, so it should be monitored.
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