A retina specialist is a medical doctor trained as an ophthalmologist, who has received additional fellowship training in medical and surgical diseases of the vitreous and retina. Retina specialists concentrate on diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, retinal detachments, flashers/floaters, and intraocular inflammation.
- Macular degeneration is a disease of the retina which leads to scaring and bleeding of the macula. It leads to blurring and distortion of the central vision. There are two types of macular degeneration: wet and dry. Neither of the types tends to cause total blindness but can cause significant visual compromise. Dry macular degeneration is caused by deposits in the macula that lead to retinal damage. Wet macular degeneration is due to abnormal new blood vessels beneath the macula that can cause fluid leakage and bleeding. Treatments for macular degeneration include AREDS vitamins, laser, and intravitreal injections. For more information visit this macular degeneration website.
- A retinal detachment is a serious condition which can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated. A retinal detachment is caused when a retinal tear allows fluid to pass behind the retina, lifting it from its normal position. Symptoms of a retinal detachment include flashing lights, floaters, curtain in vision, or significant decline in vision. Treatments for detachments may include laser therapy, pneumatic retinopexy, cryotherapy, scleral buckle, and vitrectomy.
- Diabetes can manifest inside the eye and lead to significant problems. Diabetes may lead to structural changes within the blood vessels which lead to fluid leakage or bleeding within the eye. Diabetes may also lead to abnormal new blood vessels that can easily bleed or cause traction on the retina. Early detection is the key to preserving your vision. It is important for diabetics to keep regular follow-up for eye examinations. Treatments for diabetic eye disease include laser, vitrectomy, and intravitreal injections.
- Floaters/Flashes are symptoms that are caused by a change in the vitreous which is a viscous jelly located in the posterior portion of our eye. Patients often describe floaters as “spider webs”, “gnats”, “specks”, or “squigglies” in their vision. This is caused by condensation of proteins within the vitreous cavity that casts shadows on our retina. Flashers are often described as “lightning streaks” or “strobe lights”. The flashing is actually caused when the vitreous causes traction on the retina. In most cases, these symptoms are caused by the normal aging process and are not a serious problem; however, they can be signs of a more serious underlying problem such as a retinal detachment. For this reason it is recommended to have a comprehensive eye examination at the onset of these symptoms to ensure there are no serious underlying problems.