What is the retina?
The retina is the membrane that lines the inside of the eye. Think of it like film in a camera. Images are captured on the retina, encoded, and then sent to the brain via the optic nerve. Attached to certain areas of the retina is the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye, giving it shape and volume. As you can imagine, both the retina and vitreous are vital parts of your vision and can be affected in any number of ways.
Many retinal diseases share common symptoms and treatments, but each has unique characteristics. The goal of retinal disease treatments is to stop or slow disease progression and preserve, improve or restore vision.
What are common retinal conditions?
Macular degeneration is a progressive eye condition affecting as many as 10 million Americans and millions more around the world. This disease attacks the macula of the eye, where our sharpest central vision occurs. Although it rarely results in complete blindness, it robs the individual of all but the outermost, peripheral vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the center of vision.
Symptoms include: Blurred central vision or blind spots.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the back of the eye become weakened and damaged, causing swelling or leakage of blood in the eye. There are two types: non-proliferative and proliferative.
Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by fluid from the blood vessels in the Retina leaking into the macula, causing it to swell. This can lead to blurry or cloudy vision. In its more advanced stages, Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR) sets in and new blood vessels can form in the Retina. These irregular blood vessels can cause damage by leaking blood into the vitreous. If untreated, PDR can possibly lead to Retinal detachment and even glaucoma.
Floaters are small abnormalities in a person’s vision. They can appear as tiny spots or small curvy lines that move along with the movement of the eye. There are many possible causes of floaters, but usually they are the result of foreign matter in the vitreous, physical injury to the eye, or another existing eye disease.
While floaters do not have major adverse effects on overall vision, it is important that people experiencing these spots monitor them closely as they could be indicative of a more serious condition.
Uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye that consists of the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. Symptoms include: blurred/cloudy vision, floaters, eye pain or redness, increased sensitivity to light, and headaches.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s The Best Way To Know If I Have Retinal Damage?
The best way to prevent or detect retinal damage or disease is to visit your eye doctor regularly for examination.
What Causes Retinal Damage?
Several factors can damage the retina, including (but not limited to):
- Eye disease
- Trauma to the eye
- Environmental factors (e.g. solar radiation/staring at the sun)
What Is The Retina And The Vitreous?
The Retina is the intricate membrane that lines the inside of the eye. Comparatively, the Retina acts similar to film in a camera. Images are captured on the Retina, encoded, and then sent to the brain via the optic nerve. As you can imagine the processes of the Retina are very complex and can be hindered in a number of different ways.
Attached to certain areas of the Retina, and filling the inside of the eye, is the vitreous. The vitreous is a gel-like substance that gives the eye shape and volume. Foreign matter or fluid in the vitreous can be very harmful.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular Degeneration is a progressive eye condition affecting as many as 10 million Americans and millions more around the world. This disease attacks the macula of the eye, where our sharpest central vision occurs. Although it rarely results in complete blindness, it robs the individual of all but the outermost, peripheral vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the center of vision.
Individuals with Macular Degeneration may first notice a blurring of central vision that is most apparent when performing visually detailed tasks such as reading and sewing. Blurred central vision may also make straight lines appear slightly distorted or warped. As the disease progresses, blind spots form within central vision. In most cases, if one eye has Macular Degeneration, the other eye will also develop the disease. The extent of central vision loss varies according to the type of degeneration.
What Are The Types Of Macular Degeneration?
There are two types of Macular Degeneration, wet and dry.
Dry MD is the most common. It is caused by the aging and thinning of blood vessels under the macula which results in mild, yet gradually occurring loss of vision that is especially noticeable during activities such as reading. Dry MD accounts for about 80% of all Macular Degeneration cases, but leads to only 20% of cases in which there is a severe loss of vision.
Age- related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over 55. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) showed that patients diagnosed with moderate-to-advanced disease decreased that risk by 25% and reduced the risk of associated vision loss by 19% by taking the original tablet high- potency antioxidant AREDS formula supplement everyday.
MaxiVisionMaxiVision Macula Formula Vitamins contain 60 vegetarian capsules that were created from the insight offered by AREDS and AREDS2. They consist of high levels of zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, copper, and vitamins C and E that are thought to keep the eyes healthy. Lutein is believed to promote ocular health because of its presence in the macula. The vitamin should be taken daily to keep your eyes protected from factors such as UV rays and free radicals.
MaxiVision Macula Formula Vitamin is a great supplement for anyone to take regularly to aid in the prevention of macular degeneration (or to assist in slowing the progression of the disease). Its unique formula is a combination of the ARDES and AREDS2, two long term studies done on the effects of vitamins and minerals on eye health. Taking the dietary supplement daily can prevent damage done to the eyes by free radicals, UV rays, and hereditary factors.
Wet MD is less frequent but accounts for the majority of cases with severe vision loss. It is significantly more aggressive in nature and is caused by an abnormal growth of new blood vessels that leak blood and other fluids. Wet MD disrupts the central viewing function of the macula resulting in visual distortion and eventually the loss of central vision entirely.
Research for treatments of Macular Degeneration has progressed dramatically. New technologies now exist for treating the disease. In the meantime, high-intensity reading lamps, magnifiers and other low-vision aids help people with Macular Degeneration make the most of their remaining vision.
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes can affect many aspects of a person’s health. It can have very damaging effects on the eye as well. The Retina contains blood vessels that can become damaged as a result of diabetes.
There are two types of Diabetic Retinopathy: Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR), which is the early, less severe form of the disease; and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR), the later stages of the disease which can cause the most damage to a person’s vision.
Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by fluid from the blood vessels in the Retina leaking into the macula. This causes the macula to swell and can lead to blurry or cloudy vision. In its more advanced stages, Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy sets in and new blood vessels can form in the Retina. These irregular blood vessels can cause damage by leaking blood into the vitreous. If it goes untreated, PDR can possibly lead to Retinal detachment and even glaucoma.
Management of Diabetic Retinopathy ranges from simple maintenance to complex treatments. Being health conscious about managing diabetes can help stave off the onset of NPDR. It is important that persons with diabetes have regular eye checkups to monitor developments in the Retina. If more serious problems become apparent there are a variety of medical and surgical procedures that can be employed to protect the patient’s vision as much as possible.
What Are Floaters?
Floaters are small abnormalities in a person’s vision. They can appear as tiny spots or small curvy lines that move along with the movement of the eye. There are many possible causes of floaters, but usually they are the result of problems in the vitreous. Floaters can occur for a variety of reasons. Foreign matter in the vitreous, physical injury to the eye, and a number of eye diseases can all cause floaters. While floaters do not have major adverse effects on overall vision, it is important that people experiencing these spots monitor them closely as they could be indicative of a more serious condition.
What Is Uveitis?
Uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye that consists of the iris, ciliary body and choroid. The uvea is the pigmented inside layer of the eye, lying beneath the sclera and cornea, and comprises the iris, choroid, and ciliary body. There are many causes for uveitis including an eye injury, inflammatory diseases as well as inflammation that can develop subsequent to eye surgery. If there is a belief that uveitis may be secondary to an undiagnosed systemic condition, your doctor may recommend blood work to evaluate possible causes. Uveitis disrupts vision by primarily causing problems with the lens, retina, optic nerve, and vitreous.
Symptoms of Uveitis:
- Blurred vision
- Cloudy vision
- Eye pain
- Eye redness
- Increased sensitivity to light
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to tissue damage, germs, or toxins. It produces swelling, redness, heat, and destroys tissues as certain white blood cells rush to the affected part of the body to contain or eliminate the insult.
Types of Uveitis
- Anterior uveitis frequently (iritis) – This type affects the front of the eye. Inflammation of the iris (iritis) is the most common type of uveitis.
- Intermediate uveitis – consists of vitritis, inflammation of the jelly-like part of the eye (vitreous cavity). When there is inflammatory material on the pars plana, the condition is called pars planitis
- Posterior uveitis – inflammation of the retina and choroid. Posterior refers to the back of the eye.
- Pan-uveitis – is when inflammation exists in all layers of the uvea.