September 29, 2022
Contributing Author: Dr. Bernard Dib, M.D.
We rely heavily on our vision since it connects us to our surroundings and allows us to stay safe, learn, and create memories. The retina is an important component of the eye because it transmits light entering the eye into the optic nerve, which in turn sends the information to the brain. Any damage to the retina can result in impaired vision. Consult with an ophthalmologist immediately if you notice any changes in your vision.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the rear wall of your eye. This layer of tissue detects light and delivers messages to the brain, allowing you to see.
As light passes through the lens in the front of the eye and strikes the retina, photoreceptors (light-sensitive cells in the retina) convert light energy into an electrical signal which is carried by the optic nerve and transmitted to the brain. The retina’s nerve cells are therefore responsible for all forms of vision, enabling you to see in low-light conditions, perceive an entire range of colors and the sharp edges of delicate images, and have a wide field of vision.
The retina typically appears red or orange because it is surrounded by numerous blood vessels and consists of the following components:
There are many retinal diseases that can affect your vision, some of which are outlined below.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), age-related eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma are the major causes of blindness and impaired vision in the United States.
Retinal diseases can share a variety of symptoms, such as:
Many of these symptoms can appear unexpectedly and without warning. Your eye doctor will perform a thorough exam to determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend treatment options.
Typically, in order to assess and diagnose retinal disorders, ophthalmologists first inquire about the patient’s medical history. This allows them to explore underlying issues that may be affecting a patient’s eyesight. Then, they perform a comprehensive front-to-back eye exam to determine the cause of the symptoms. This may require dilating drops to dilate the pupil and allow a more comprehensive retinal examination. Specialized imaging such as optical coherence tomography (scans of the retina), fluorescein angiography (dye test), and ocular ultrasound may be obtained as needed to aid in diagnosis and management.
The primary objective of treatment is to stop or delay the advancement of the disease and to preserve, improve, or restore eyesight. Damage that has already happened is sometimes irreversible, making early detection crucial. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action. The treatment of retinal disease can be complicated and, at times, urgent. Treatment options may include:
Most children and adults should have a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years. Individuals at higher risk of developing an eye disease may need to have their eyes checked more frequently. You may require more frequent eye examinations if you:
During a comprehensive eye exam, your ophthalmologist will examine your eyes and perform several tests. Some of these tests help assess your vision and determine whether you require glasses or contacts. Other tests evaluate your eye health and look for signs of eye diseases.
Consult with a healthcare provider as soon as you notice changes in your vision. Whether it’s as simple as needing new glasses or as complicated as partial vision loss, don’t wait for symptoms to worsen before getting your eyes checked. Although many vision problems can be corrected, some must be diagnosed and treated early to prevent permanent damage. Maintaining frequent eye checkups is therefore important to keep your eyes healthy. Your doctor will advise you on how often you need to be seen based on the health of your eyes.
Here at OOMC, our patient’s well-being is our priority. Our dedicated team of surgeons and staff always makes an effort to create a safe and secure environment where you can easily access care comfortably and confidently.
Contact one of our centers nearest to you for further information.
Corneal Associates of New Jersey
Kremer Eye Center
Ludwick Eye Center
Omni Eye Services
Phillips Eye Center