Treat Retinal Disorders to Preserve Vision
By Gordon Wong, OD on June 14, 2016
The retina is a thin membrane at the back of the eye. This fragile tissue is composed primarily of nerve cells. These nerve cells, or neurons, act as transmitters that send signals to the brain so images can be processed. A healthy and functioning retina is vital to a person’s vision. Unfortunately, there are many disorders that can compromise the retina and its ability to function. While many of these disorders will result in side effects, symptoms do not always develop right away. This is why routine eye exams to evaluate internal and external ocular health are so important. At GW Eye Associates, our doctors examine the eyes for any signs of retinal abnormalities. We understand that, to successfully treat the various types of retinal disorders for our San Diego patients, we must diagnose these conditions early on.
Types of Retinal Disorders
There are many diseases and disorders that can cause the retina to malfunction. In most cases, this malfunction causes a disruption that prevents the retina’s neuron receptors from transmitting information to the brain. As retinal disorders progress, patients may experience blurry vision, flashes and floaters, night blindness, or sudden vision loss. Below are some of the most common types of retinal disorders:
- Retinopathy: Retinopathy is a condition in which the small red blood vessels in the retina have become damaged. Retinopathy may be caused by hypertension, vascular diseases, or sickle cell anemia, but it is most often caused by uncontrolled diabetes, in which case it is known as diabetic retinopathy.
- Macular degeneration: Macular degeneration compromises a patient’s central vision and makes tasks such as reading and driving more difficult. This is a progressive condition that develops in stages, and is most commonly the result of aging.
- Retinal detachment: Retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina becomes separated from its underlying layers. Retinal tears and detachment are most often the result of eye trauma, uncontrolled diabetes, a previous eye surgery, or an inflammatory disorder.
- Retinoblastoma: Retinoblastoma is an eye cancer that can affect either children or adults. Although it is a rare condition, it is the most common type of eye cancer in children. Retinoblastoma causes a malignant tumor on the retina that can make the eyes appear crossed or give the pupils a white color.
- Retinal hemorrhage: Retinal hemorrhage, or bleeding, develops when the retinal blood vessels are damaged to the point that leaking occurs. Even a small amount of retinal bleeding can impact a person’s vision. The most common causes of retinal hemorrhage include injury and certain diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.
Treating Retinal Disorders
Each type of retinal disorder is unique and will require its own treatment. However, despite the type of retinal disorder that is being suffered, the primary goal of treatment will be to preserve the patient’s vision. In many cases, damage to the retina is irreversible. This is why early treatment is so essential. It is important to diagnose and treat retinal disorders while there is still time to save a person’s vision.
At GW Eye Associates, our doctors are dedicated to helping patients preserve eye health so that they can continue to enjoy clear, focused vision. If you are in need of a comprehensive eye exam, or have questions about our other eye care services, contact us at your earliest convenience.
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Dr. Wong and his staff have proven to be the best eye doctor that I have ever visited. He is extremely thorough and up-to-date professionally. He gives you plenty of time. I never feel rushed.Kathrine Holladay