Retina and Vitreous FAQs
What is a Vitro-Retinal specialist?
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 intraocular infection. BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists is home to medical physicians who have completed extensive education and training in the diseases and surgeries of the eye, including a three-year Ophthalmology residency and a two-year Retina and Vitreous fellowship training.
What is the retina?
The retina is a light-sensitive tissue that detects light through the lens of the eye which detects an image. The retina passes the image to the optic nerve which brings it to the brain. If a retina is damaged, vision may be impaired. This could be caused by injury, illness, or age.
What is the vitreous?
The vitreous is a gel that is located between the retina and lens of the eye. The vitreous is loosely attached to the retina and vital to normal eyesight as it helps light enter the retina.
What are floaters?
Eye floaters appear as dots, lines, cobwebs, or speckled-like objects in the field of vision. They are especially noticeable when looking at something bright or white. Floaters are caused by the vitreous liquefying. This is normal in most cases, but may also mean the eye is inflamed, infected, or there is bleeding within the eye.
What is a post vitreous detachment (PVD)?
Post vitreous detachment (PVD) is a separation of the vitreous from the inner back wall of the eyeball. This is often associated with floaters and light flashes. The vitreous can liquefy continuously until it detaches completely from the retina. There usually are not major issues with PVD and symptoms should improve over time. PVD may cause retinal tears, which, if left untreated, can lead to retinal detachment. If there are symptoms of PVD, please request an appointment for a retinal exam.
What is a retinal detachment?
A retinal detachment is caused when the retina pulls away from the lining of the inner back wall of the eyeball. Retinal detachments happen because of retina holes, retinal tears, or from scar tissue in the vitreous gel or on the retinal surface. Retinal detachments can cause permanent loss of vision and require prompt consultation from a physician.
What are the symptoms of a retinal detachment?
- Symptoms of retinal detachment include:
Flashes of light
- Increased floaters
- Darkening of peripheral vision
Who is at risk for retinal detachment?
Retinal detachment predominately occurs in people over the age of 40 and affects more men than women. Retinal detachments occur more often in patients who have had cataract surgery severe nearsighted vision, eye injuries, prior retinal tears or a family history of retinal detachment.
What is the treatment for vitreo-retinal problems?
Problems with the retina and vitreous may lead to vision impairment and possibly blindness. Lasers, surgeries and injections can treat problems before serious damage occurs, prevent more issues and possibly restore vision.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It damages and weakens the blood vessels that support the retina. As the blood vessels weaken, vision loss may occur. Vision may become blurred or cloudy with floaters. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy may cause blindness.
How can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?
The risk of diabetic retinopathy can be reduced by managing diabetes and controlling blood sugar levels. Diabetics should follow a specific diet, medication and exercise plan, as well as manage blood pressure and cholesterol and avoid smoking and alcohol. Our physicians recommend diabetics schedule regular eye exams to prevent any issues.
Can diabetic retinopathy be treated?
Treatment is dependent on the type and severity of diabetic retinopathy. In the advanced stage, physicians can use injections, lasers, and surgery to treat the issue. Early detection is vital to treating this issue and our physicians stress the importance of regularly scheduled eye exams.
What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is the breakdown of the pigment cells under the macula. These pigment cells are needed for normal retinal function. As the cells are lost, the retina stops functioning properly and blind spots and vision distortion may occur.
Wet macular degeneration is described as unusual blood vessel growth under the macula. This growth can cause leakage of fluid, bleeding, and scar tissue under and within the retina. Wet macular degeneration can cause vision loss. Wet macular degeneration can be treated with injections, and this has been quite successful.
What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?
- Difficulty seeing detail
- Increased need for brighter light to see objects or to read
- Blurred vision
- Diminished color vision
- Blind spots in the center of field of vision
- Crooked vision
How can macular degeneration be detected?
There are specific tests a physician can perform to view the interior of the eye through the pupil. Other tests include:
Acuity Test - A test to determine if there are defects in the center of vision.
Amsler Grid Test - A test to find blind spots, loss of vision and distortion.
Optical Coherence Tonography (OCT) - A test to take a closer look at the layers of the retina.
Can macular degeneration cause total blindness?
Macular degeneration usually does not affect peripheral vision. If the center of vision is lost, patients learn to use their remaining vision.
Can macular degeneration be prevented?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent macular degeneration. Early detection and regularly scheduled appointments are extremely important, especially if there is family history of macular degeneration.
How can macular degeneration be treated?
There is no cure for macular degeneration and damage is irreversible. The goal is to slow the progression of the disease.
For dry macular degeneration, our physicians recommend certain vitamins and minerals with antioxidants, zinc and Omega III fatty acids.
In wet macular degeneration, there are a few treatment options that can be combined.
Injtravitreal injections - the drug is injected directly into the eye
Photodynamic therapy- This out-patient treatment uses a low-power laser to target the center of the macula, in turn shrinking the abnormal blood vessels.
What are the risk factors of macular degeneration?
- Personal or family history of hypertension and/or cardiovascular disease
- Extreme sun exposure
- Light skin and light eye color
Is there a cure for macular degeneration?
There is no cure for macular degeneration but it is possible to slow or stop the progression of the disease. In some cases, it is possible to reverse the effects of the disease, as well. Again, early detection can improve the outcome.
What is a macular pucker?
A macular pucker is a layer of scar tissue on the surfaces of the macula, which is the part of the eye that helps with detailed vision. Vitreous surgery and the removal of the scar tissue are usually successful in restoring vision.
What is a macular hole?
A macular hole is a hole or small break in the macula, which is the part of the eye that helps with detailed vision. This happens when the vitreous gel shrinks and attaches and creates a hole in the macula, in turn possibly causing a blind spot in the central vision. Vitrectomy surgery may be able to repair a macula hole.
How can I schedule an appointment?
If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at (920) 327-7000 or (877) IN-A-WINK. Our Patient Services Team is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you would like to request an appointment online, click here. Our Patient Services Team will be in contact with you.
What if I have more questions?
For general inquiries, fill out this form or contact our Patient Services Team at (920) 327-7000 or (877) IN-A-WINK.