The retina is the layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the back wall of your eye. Light entering your eye is focused on your retina and converted into electrical impulses that are transmitted to your brain via your optic nerve. Your brain then interprets the impulses into the objects you see.
Left untreated, retinal diseases and conditions can cause significant vision loss and even blindness. If you are experiencing problems affecting your retina, you need an experienced, knowledgeable eye doctor to guide your treatment. The Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons team’s expertise in retinal conditions allows us to offer safe, effective vision-saving treatments to patients who need it.
Macular degeneration, sometimes referred to as age-related macular degeneration, is the gradual breakdown of the macula, the portion of the retina responsible for sharp central vision and color vision. As the macula deteriorates, it can jeopardize the vision you need for everyday tasks such as reading and driving. Macular degeneration can cause blurry, blind or distorted spots in central vision, difficulty recognizing faces and difficulty adapting to low-light conditions.
There are two types of macular degeneration: in early-stage macular degeneration, or “dry” macular degeneration, yellowish deposits called drusen grow under the retina. In late-stage or advanced macular degeneration, or “wet” macular degeneration, abnormal new blood vessels grow under the retina.
Macular degeneration cannot be cured but it can be treated; treatment depends on the type and severity. Studies have shown that taking certain nutritional supplements can help delay or stave off the progression of early macular degeneration. Some cases of wet macular degeneration are treated with intravitreal injections to stop the growth of new abnormal blood vessels.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye-related complication of diabetes in which the tiny blood vessels of the retina are damaged by high blood sugar levels. This prevents the retina from getting the nourishment it needs, and can cause vision loss. New, abnormal blood vessels may leak fluid into the retina, causing swelling; the existing blood vessels may also leak blood and fluid.
Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is tailored to the type and severity of the disease. Some cases are treated with intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF drugs to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Laser surgery may be performed to seal off leaking blood vessels.
A macular hole is a tear in the macula that may be caused by the vitreous gel tugging on it. Macular holes can cause gray, black or blank areas in central vision or blurry or distorted images. The effects of macular hole can make it difficult to perform close-up work like reading or sewing.
Macular holes are often treated with a surgical procedure called vitrectomy. During the procedure, the vitreous gel that fills the eye is removed and replaced with a saline solution or silicone oil. A bubble is placed in the eye to hold the edges of the macular hole in place as they heal.
Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates or peels away from its normal position on the back wall of the eye. In some cases the retina can develop a hole or tear and fluid passes through the opening and detaches it from its underlying blood supply.
Retinal detachment can be treated with several approaches. One option is vitrectomy to remove the vitreous gel and drain fluid that has collected under the retina. Another option is scleral buckle, in which a silicone band is used to seal the retina back together.
The eye doctors at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons take retinal problems very seriously. Once we have learned more about your particular problem, we will outline the available treatment options and help you decide how to proceed. Call or email us today to request an appointment with a member of our team.