A retina specialist is an ophthalmologist who has received special training in macular degeneration and other conditions which involve the vitreous body and retina of the eye. This subspecialty of ophthalmology is sometimes known as vitreoretinal medicine. Retina specialists treat a wide range of eye conditions, dealing with both adults and children. The services of a vitreoretinal specialists may be recommended to a patient with an eye condition which cannot be cared for by general ophthalmologist.
The retina is the light sensitive area in the back of of the eye, and it includes the macula, the central part of the retina. The vitreous body is a clear gel which fills the space between the retina and the lens. Both structures can be subject to a number of conditions, including problems caused by trauma, inherited or congenital conditions, and diseases of the eye which appear later in life. Some conditions commonly treated by retina specialist include: age related macular degeneration, flashes and floaters, diabetic retinopathy, retinal tears, holes or detachments, retinoblastoma, retinitis pigmentosa, and cancer of the eye.
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic condition that causes central vision loss. It affects millions of Americans, and is a leading cause of blindness in people 60 and older. The older you are the greater chance of being affected. That's why it's important to learn the symptoms of AMD now, so if you ever notice any thing wrong, you can see an ophthalmologist right away. Early detection is the key to minimizing vision loss.
Learn the symptoms so you know what to look for:
AMD symptoms include blurriness, wavy lines, or a central blind spot
- Straight lines or faces appearing wavy or distorted
- Straight lines seeming crooked
- objects appearing smaller or farther away
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. If you are diagnosed with wet AMD see a retina specialist for the most appropriate care.
AMD occurs when the macula the central portion of the retina that is important for reading and color vision becomes damaged. AMD is a single disease, but it can take 2 different forms: dry and wet.
Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula, causing bleeding and swelling. Wet AMD is the more serious form with more than 200,000 people in the United States diagnosed every year. Without treatment, patients can lose their central vision over time, leaving only peripheral, or side vision. The symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually over time.
There is no cure for macular degeneration, but its progression can often be slowed with special medicines called anti-WEGF agents. Billions of dollars have been spent in the ongoing research to understand AMD. The retina doctors at Inland Eye Specialists have university affiliations and are involved in the latest research. Currently the most important steps one can take is to avoid smoking and take multivitamin supplements containing an AREDS equivalent formulation.
What is diabetic retinopathy? Are you seeking a Southern California diabetic eye doctor?
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. In the majority of diabetic retinopathy cases, blindness is completely preventable. Patients will need to work closely with the Inland Eye Specialists diabetic retina eye doctors to monitor and treat this disease. The use of medications and daily blood sugar monitoring can make a major impact on containing the worsening of diabetic retinopathy.
The retina is the like the film in a camera; in which it is the light sensing film on the back of the eye that captures the images. In the diabetes disease, sugar (glucose) builds up within blood vessels in the retina and tissues of the body causing it to attach to the proteins in the wall. This alters the vessel’s normal structure and functioning. The vessels eventually get blocked and leak fluid. When they cannot deliver an adequate amount of blood supply to the eye, the eye can generate abnormal new blood vessels. Early diabetic retinopathy usually has no symptoms. However, worsening diabetic retinopathy can lead to visual loss and blindness.
The stages of diabetic retinopathy are divided into two categories, nonproliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy.
This is the first and earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy. NPDR occurs when the small blood vessels of the retina start to leak fluid or bleed. This activity will lead to the formation of deposits called exudates. Once these blood vessels start to leak swelling within the central part of the retina occurs. When the leakage of these blood vessels causes swelling, macular edema sets in and the blood vessels can become blocked. This stage of diabetic retinopathy is common when a person develops diabetes. Most diabetics have some grade of NPDR. It is imperative to maintain regular eye examinations with the retina specialists at Inland Eye Specialists to monitor and treat NPDR.
When new vessels start to grow as a result of the existing vessels becoming blocked, this marks the beginning of the next stage of diabetic retinopathy, proliferative diabetic retinopathy. This level of diabetic retinopathy is the most severe and dangerous for the diabetic patient. These new abnormal blood vessels can grow on the retina, optic nerve, iris or into the vitreous gel inside the eye, and tend to grow poorly and are very fragile. The damage that these blood vessels bring to retina can be catastrophic and include hemorrhages on the retina, scar tissues build up, and possible retina detachment.
Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
- If you are a diabetic patient it is suggested by the Inland Eye Specialists that you have regular eye exams to look for symptoms. Diabetic retinopathy does not really have any initial warning signs.
- Retinal swelling may cause blurred vision and distortion.
- Objects may look smaller or larger than normal
- Floaters may appear due to the bleeding of the blood vessels.
*If proliferative diabetic retinopathy is left untreated blindness can occur. The best alternative to fighting PDR is early detection so that you and your eye doctor can begin to control this development.
Statistics From the National Eye Institute – Did you know?
“According to the National Eye Institute, it is estimated that nearly 5.4 million Americans, ages 18 and over currently have diabetic retinopathy. This eye disease causes over 8000 cases of new blindness annually, and is the primary cause of blindness for people ages 25 to 74” (Valero and Drouilhet, 2001).