The doctors of Delray Eye Associates, P.A. treat a wide range of disorders affecting the retina. We are proud to have Marco Gonzalez, M.D. and Ronald Glatzer, M.D. providing treatment for our patients with retinal conditions.
What Is the Retina?
The retina is a membrane at the back of the eye that functions like the film in a camera. It plays a crucial role in vision by receiving images focused by the cornea and lens and converting them to electrical signals. These signals then travel through the optic nerve to the brain, where they are processed into the images that we see.
What Disorders Affect the Retina?
Many conditions can affect the retina, impairing its ability to transmit clear images to the brain. Retinal conditions include the following:
Retinal hole, tear or detachment – In some cases the retina becomes separated from its supportive tissues. A torn or detached retina can result from a variety of causes and can include numerous symptoms, including light flashes, floaters, spots, poor vision or blurred vision. Patients may see a shadow or black curtain crossing their field of vision from above, below or the side. This condition can result in permanent vision loss if not treated quickly.
Courtesy of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Diabetic retinopathy – Diabetic retinopathy involves the development of abnormal blood vessels in the retina, which may bleed or leak fluid. Diabetic retinopathy patients may experience varying degrees of vision loss. Early detection and treatment are crucial in preventing vision loss.
Macular degeneration – In the dry macular degeneration, the patient may have no symptoms at all, or may experience a loss of clear central vision due to degradation of the macula, which is the part of the retina that allows detailed central vision. Wet macular degeneration involves the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina. These vessels leak, thereby causing significant vision loss. Current treatment for wet macular degeneration has helped many patients restore and maintain sight.
Retinal vascular problems – Retinal vascular problems can include any abnormality involving the blood vessels in the retina, usually due to hypertension or diabetes. Examples include blockage of blood vessels, growth of blood vessels where they typically do not belong, as well as vitreous hemorrhage (blood in the eye cavity) resulting from diabetic retinopathy or a detached retina. Many patients are eligible for treatment.
How Are Retinal Conditions Diagnosed?
Various signs and symptoms can indicate the possible presence of retinal conditions, including blurred vision, distorted vision, double vision or blind spots. In order to obtain a definitive diagnosis of a retinal condition, we may use advanced diagnostic imaging tests in the office such as fluorescein angiography and OCT (ocular coherence tomography).
How Are Retinal Conditions Treated?
Depending on the specific disorder as well as the particular needs of each patient, treatment may include medications or laser treatments. Laser photo coagulation involves the application of laser energy to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina and to control leakage.
An injection of medication into the eye may help to dry up errant, leaky blood vessels.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a retinal condition, it is advisable to contact an eye care provider as soon as possible in order to prevent potential permanent vision loss.