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The retina is the screen on which the cornea projects the Technicolor cinema of your life’s experiences. The rods and cones of this sensory membrane convert images into chemical and electrical pulses that travel down the optic nerve, where neurons wait to decode the visual reality of the world around you.
Not surprisingly, damage to the retina is a serious threat to your ability to see clearly, or see at all. Risks to this essential ocular structure include:
This condition can occur when the eye’s vitreous fluid shrinks in volume and begins to pull on the retinal membrane. A retinal tear may create sudden distortions in vision, such as flashing lights and shapes that appear to float.
This occurs when fluid seeps under the retina, usually through a retinal tear, but sometimes as a result of diabetic retinopathy. The end result is that the retina becomes separated from the back of the eye, and normal vision is no longer possible. Eyesight can be permanently lost if retinal detachment is not immediately treated. Various surgical treatments exist, but a delay in seeking help will decrease the likelihood of success with these procedures.
Epiretinal Membrane Changes
Changes in the epiretinal membrane, the thin covering positioned on top of the retina. If this membrane begins to pull on the retina, blurred or distorted vision is the result.
Damage to the Macula
An injury or unusual friction between the retina and vitreous may create a defect in the center of the macula, known as a macular hole. In the case of macular degeneration, damage to the retina occurs when the center begins to deteriorate. This can create a central blind spot in the field of vision.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic condition that causes progressive corneal damage, resulting in reduced peripheral and night vision.
Retinal Vein Occlusion
Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the main retinal vein, or a branch vein. When this happens, blood and fluid back up near the center of the retina. This macular edema affects the retina’s ability to efficiently receive images, resulting in blurry vision.
In approximately one third of cases, RVO can lead to a type of glaucoma known as neovascular glaucoma, which dramatically raises pressure in the eye and threatens your vision.
When pressure soars to dangerous levels within the eye, blood begins to leak from the capillaries, blocking light from reaching photoreceptors and partially obscuring vision. For some patients, this kind of hemorrhaging may happen once, but for others it can become a condition that persists for months or years. Treatment involves regular injections to reduce pressure within the eye.
Schedule a Consultation for Retinal Disease Detection
If you would like to learn more about preventing and detecting retinal risks, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation with an experienced ophthalmologist at our West Palm Beach or Jupiter office by contacting Mittleman Eye today.