The retina is a tissue located along the inner wall of the eye, all the way in the back. Made up of millions of photoreceptor cells, the retina is extremely light sensitive. The retina is a very complex piece of tissue and is essential in order to see.
The retina is responsible for receiving the light that comes into the eye, and then processing the light into brain signals, which reach the brain through the optic nerve. A healthy retina is essential to good vision. Unfortunately, the retina is susceptible to many different types of disease.
Common Retinal Diseases
Macular degeneration is an eye disease during which the macula begins to deteriorate. The macula is the central portion of the retina, and is responsible for sharp, central vision. Macular degeneration causes vision loss, but not complete blindness. It is a progressive disease, meaning it will get worse over time without treatment. Most people do not realize they have macular degeneration until vision loss has occurred.
Diabetics are susceptible to many different eye disease, one of them being diabetic retinopathy. This occurs when uncontrolled blood sugar levels begin to affect the tiny blood vessels on the retina. These blood vessels swell and leak blood and fluid into the eye, causing vision loss.
Retinopathy of Prematurity
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is an eye disease that can occur in babies born prematurely. The cause is the growth of abnormal blood vessels on the retina, which can impair vision and lead to blindness. While this disease can naturally go away, if it does not, it can be treated by an ophthalmologist. To treat Retinopathy of Prematurity, your ophthalmologist can use either laser or freezing treatments to destroy the portion of the retina where the abnormal blood growths are occurring.
While most eye diseases are treatable by your ophthalmologist, it’s important to remember that the best form of treatment is prevention through annual eye exams. Catching the disease and treating it early can make a lasting difference in the quality of your vision and the quality of your life.