At North Carolina Eye Ear Nose & Throat, we have a team of ophthalmologists who specialize in and have extensive knowledge of the retina and vitreous as well as the treatment of diseases and disorders affecting these important parts of the eye.
Those diseases may include, but are not limited to, the following:
The retina is the light – sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye cavity and is often compared to the film in a camera. The retina begins the processing of visual images and sends this information through the optic nerve to the brain. Detachment of the retina is a potentially blinding event occurring when it separates from its underlying supportive tissue. Detachments typically develop due to holes and tears in the retina as well as intraocular scar tissue formation. Prompt treatment of a retinal detachment by our specialists may help prevent associated vision loss.
The “macula” is the name of the central vision area of the retina. The macula allows us to see all details like faces, TV, computer, reading, driving, etc. If the macula does not function properly, we are left with only peripheral vision and many tasks become difficult or impossible. Macular degeneration implies a deterioration of the vision cells and often the underlying pigment layer in the macula. Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the most common cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age or older. AMD can develop slowly so that people notice little change in their vision. In others, however, the disease progresses faster and may lead to rapid loss of central vision in one or both eyes. Although there are no cures for the disease, treatments may help slow or even reverse associated vision loss. Such treatments may include the use of intraocular injections administered in an often painless in-office procedure.
Although not considered actual degeneration, other often aging- related problems can affect the macula. Among these is the development of scar tissue on the surface of the retina leading to distortion of central acuity. This condition is called macular puckering. In some cases, holes can develop in the in the middle of the macula causing loss of central eyesight. In many cases, our retinal surgeons can repair macular pucker or holes leading to recovery of much of the lost vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes affecting the blood vessels of the retina. It may develop in association with either insulin dependent or non-insulin dependent disease. The longer you have diabetes, and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop such damage. At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision changes. Eventually, however, the disease can result in blindness due to leakages, bleeding, scar tissue development, retinal detachment and glaucoma. To protect your vision, prevention is critical! Start by carefully controlling your blood sugars and other medical problems. It is recommended that all diabetics have their eyes examined at least yearly.
Floaters and Flashes
The vitreous is a clear, viscous gel filling the central cavity of the eye. The vitreous is essentially the remnant of the framework around which the eye formed before we were born. After birth, the vitreous is no longer needed and, by middle age, this gel has begun to shrink. Such shrinkage is a normal aging process which causes the vitreous to eventually detach from the retina. We may then see shadows cast on the retina by the more confluent clumps of the remaining gel. Such visual spots are often called “floaters”. Although floaters may be benign, the sudden onset of many such spots suggests that the retina could have been damaged by the detachment process perhaps causing retinal holes or tears to develop (see retinal detachment above). Vitreous pulling on the retina may lead to the perception of flashing lights or lightning-looking light streaks. If you notice the sudden appearance of new floaters and/or light flashes, it is advisable to consult one of our ophthalmologists as soon as possible.
Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea – the pigmented middle layer of the eye that consists of the iris, ciliary body and vascular choroid. Uveitis can have many causes such as systemic inflammatory diseases, eye injury and toxic exposure. Symptoms can include eye pain, spots in the vision, blurriness, light sensitivity, and redness. Left inadequately or untreated, uveitis can lead to the development of cataracts, high pressure in the eye (glaucoma), intraocular scar tissue, retinal swelling and other serious eye problems.