Category

Retina

AMD

What is AMD?

Age-related Macular Degeneration is a widespread eye condition that causes vision loss among people who are 50 years and above. If you’re worried that you’re not able to see things straight ahead, it is possible that a small spot near the center of your retina has been damaged. The disease may progress differently amongst different people. For some, it doesn’t cause a problem for a long time, while for others; they may develop a loss of vision in one or both eyes. It then becomes an obstacle in performing daily activities such as reading, writing, driving, household chores and seeing faces.

Stages of AMD

  1. Early AMD
    There exists a medium-sized drusen, approximately the width of a typical human hair. However, people in this stage do not suffer from loss of vision.
  2. Intermediate AMD
    Although people will not experience any symptoms, this stage may result in loss of vision. Here, the drusen is larger and some discoloration would appear in the retina. However, these changes can only be identified after an eye exam.
  3. Late AMD
    People at this stage will experience a loss of vision. There are two types of late AMD.

    • Dry AMD where communication of the visual information with the brain is weakened, which results in the loss of vision. Around 80% of people experience Dry AMD, wherein you gradually lose your central vision.
    • Wet AMD where the central part of the retina is swollen and damaged. This can happen pretty quickly and is serious. Although it is less common, it is much more severe. You’re likely to have unusual blood vessels growing under your retina, which results in a discharge of blood and other fluids.
      Your chances of losing your vision are higher with Wet AMD than Dry AMD. Moreover, one can experience both Dry and Wet AMD at the same time and either one can appear first.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors involved in the possibility of Age-related Macular Degeneration. Leading an unhealthy lifestyle which includes smoking, consuming a diet rich in saturated fat that comprises meat, butter and cheese can lead to cardiovascular disease and being overweight. Besides, continuous exposure to the sun without eye protection can also lead to Age-related Macular Degeneration.

There are also a few factors that are beyond anyone’s control which involve a person aging, being a Caucasian, a family history of AMD, having far sightedness and if you are a female, can all lead to Age-related Macular Degeneration.

Symptoms of AMD

Symptoms may not appear in the early stages of AMD. You may notice that the quality of your vision would weaken and that straight lines may appear irregular to you. Moreover, dark, cloudy areas or whiteout as well as your ability to recognize colors may also alter.

Treatment of AMD

Eye drops are applied to widen your pupil that allows the doctor to look into the inside of your eye with the help of a special lens.

Your doctor may also inject a yellow dye into your arm, which travels throughout your blood vessels and with the help of a special camera, your doctor will be able to check if there is any unusual development of blood vessels under the retina.

Although there is no way to cure Dry AMD at present, nutritional supplements can help with slowing down the condition. The following vitamins and minerals would help:

  • Vitamin C (500gm)
  • Vitamin E (400IU)
  • Lutein (10gm)
  • Zeaxanthin (2mg)
  • Zinc (80mg)
  • Copper (2mg)

For patients with Wet AMD, anti-VEGF treatments help to minimize the development of unusual blood vessels in the retina and also controls any leaking that may have happened. There are also laser treatments available for people with Wet AMD.

Good eye health is a very significant part of your well-being. If you think you might be at risk of developing AMD, and are looking for an experienced ophthalmologist in Fresno, call us on 559-449-5050.

Facts about Retinal Detachment

The retina is that part of the eye that not only serves as a light sensitive wallpaper but also sends visual messages to the brain. When a layer of the retina is either lifted or moves from its position inside the eye, the condition is known as retinal detachment. This condition is considered to be a medical emergency; therefore, it must be corrected and treated right away to prevent permanent loss of vision.

Causes of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment can be caused by a number of factors. They include the following:

  • Tears on the retina also referred to as retinal breaks or retinal tears
  • Injuries to the eye
  • An eye disorder that is inflammatory
  • Advanced diabetes
  • Contraction or shrinkage of vitreous, the gel like substance that fills the eye, causing tugging on the retina

Signs and Symptoms of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a serious condition that must be treated as soon as it is detected. In most cases, it occurs after a posterior vitreous detachment. However, not all posterior vitreous detachments result in retinal detachment. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms that characterize this condition:

  • The presence of a curtain/veil that causes the loss of the field of vision. This barrier may come from any direction.
  • Flashes of light also known as photopsia – Retinal detachment patients experience sudden flashes of light that are uncomfortable. These flashes are very brief and are felt within the extreme peripheral part of vision.
  • An increase in floaters – These are specks or cobweb like substances that float on the eye’s field of vision. The increase may be sudden or gradual depending on the severity of the retinal detachment.
  • The presence of a ring of floaters on the skull (temporal) side of the central vision.
  • A mild feeling of heaviness in the eye
  • The presence of a dense shadow in the outer vision that progresses to the central vision over time.
  • Appearance of curves in otherwise straight lines. This is also referred to as a positive Amsler test.
  • Central vision loss.

When you experience any of these symptoms especially floaters and the sudden flashes of light, consider consulting a doctor immediately.

Retinal Detachment Risk Factors

Retinal detachment can be alleviated when warning signs are detected early and treatment is sought. This means, there is a great need to ensure that many people are educated about the signs so that they may seek treatment if by chance they experience any of the symptoms discussed above.

There are several risk factors associated with retinal detachment. Some of these include cataract surgery, retinal tears, myopia, family history, trauma and complications relating to cataract surgery.

  • Trauma: This is particularly common among those who are engaged in high speed or high impact sports. Thus, is it recommended that such activities like skydiving or diving be avoided altogether.
  • Myopia: People who have high levels of myopia are advised to stay clear of activities that have the potential of producing trauma, which thereby increases pressure in the eye. Such activities include bungee jumping, rapid deceleration or acceleration or roller coaster rides.
  • Family history:Retinal detachment may also be a result of your genetic composition where certain factors promote the photo receptor degeneration or local inflammation of the retina resulting in this condition.

Some diseases also predispose the eyes to the development of this condition. They include lattice degeneration of the retina, the use of certain eye drops and the presence of chronic inflammation of the eye, which is referred to as uveitis. In conclusion, retinal detachment is a serious medical condition that must be detected and treated early to avoid potential loss of vision.

Get in touch with InSight Vision Center if you see any symptoms of low vision.

Retinal Detachment

Our eyes are integral to our body, allowing us to view the world around us. Imagine being able to touch, smell, hear and feel everything but not see, like a car with dead headlamps driving down a highway. The dark isolation of vision loss can be quite horrifying!

This fantastic process happens when the optic nerve creates an image through the cornea and displays it on the retina (a light sensitive layer of tissue that acts like a screen). Retinal detachment, or RD, is a medical condition where the retina peels off from the surrounding tissue.

Types of Retinal Detachment

There are three types of retinal detachment:

  • Rhegmatogenous: The most common type, where the retina detaches from the Retina Pigment Epithelium (RPE) due to fluid getting under it after a retinal tear.
  • Tractional: A rare but serious type, where the cracked retina rips from the RPE due to the contracting scar tissue on its surface.
  • Exudative: This type occurs without holes, tears or breaks in the retina, and is caused by fluid leaking into the area under it (typically due to inflammation, injury or vascular abnormalities).

What Causes Retinal Detachment?

Here are some of the common risk factors for Retinal Detachment:

  • Extreme near-sightedness
  • Family history of Retinal Detachment
  • Previous retinal detachment in one eye
  • Stress and lifestyle factors like smoking
  • Retinal tears caused by injury to the eyes or head
  • Complications after an eye surgery, e.g. cataract surgery
  • Tumors, degenerative myopia, lattice degeneration, glaucoma and other eye disorders
  • Other diseases and medical conditions like diabetes, AIDS, sickle cell disease, etc.

Who’s at Risk?

RD caused due to injury or underlying medical conditions can happen at practically any age, but is more likely to occur after the age of 40. Almost half of all the people who have retinal tears are likely to end up with a detached retina, which puts sportspersons and athletes at high risk. Men are more prone to it than women, and research shows that Caucasians are at higher risk than African Americans.

Symptoms and Signs of Retinal Detachment

There is no pain associated with retinal tears, but at the initial stage, there are certain signs that can help with the detection of Retinal Detachment. These include:

  • Eyes becoming heavy and drowsy
  • Blurry or poor vision, a thin layer or ‘shadow’ hindering sight
  • A dark ‘curtain’ approaching the center of your vision from the side (peripheral vision).
  • Fish-eye vision for linear objects like roads, trees, buildings, etc.
  • Sudden flashes of light or ‘floaters’ in your vision

Treatment and Cure

RD is curable if the breaks in the retina can be closed or sealed again. An ophthalmologist can use fundus photography or ophthalmoscopy to diagnose it and conduct various surgical procedures for treatment. These include:

  • Scleral Buckling: Of the four types of retinal detachment surgery, this is the most
    popular one. Small bands of silicone or plastic are attached to the outside portion of the eye – the sclera. As a result of which the band compresses the eye inward which minimizes the traction of the retina, which eventually allows it to reattach itself to the inner wall of eye. The scleral buckle thus created attaches on the posterior quota of the eye but is invisible long after this surgery is completed. In some cases, the scleral buckling surgery may be performed in combination with other surgical procedures so as to fuse the retina with the retinal pigment epithelium, the underlying supportive tissue.
  • Pneumatic Retinopexy : In this surgical procedure, a small gas bubble is injected in
    the vitreous body – the gel like substance present between the lens and the retina. Because of this bubble, the vitreous rises and presses against the retina which effectively closes the tear. After this, a freezing probe of laser can be used to seal tears on the retina. This use of a freezing probe is termed as cyropexy and the usage
    of a laser beam is known as photocoagulation. However, the rate of success of this retinal detachment surgery is lower than the Scleral Buckling procedure.
  • Vitrectomy: This retinal detachment surgical procedure is fast becoming popular. In
    this treatment the clear jelly-like fluid from vitreous body which is the posterior
    chamber of the eye. Silicone oil is then used to replace this fluid to push the
    detached part of the retina into the correct position.
  • Laser Surgery: In this procedure, a laser beam is used to burn the area around the
    tear to create scarring on the retina’s underlying tissue.

In addition to the above procedures, Cryotherapy or laser photocoagulation may be used to prevent the detachment from spreading.

In some cases the surgical reattachment of the retina may not be successful because of certain factors such as the extent, cause and area of detachment. Some complications which may develop during or after the surgery are as follows:

  • Increased tears on the retina
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • High pressure or swelling in the eye
  • Double vision
  • A rare possibility of infection in the eye
  • Bruising around the eye
  • Allergic reaction to the medication
  • Cloudiness in the lens of the eye

Can RD Be Prevented?

To prevent RD, be pro-active and tackle the initial stage symptoms. Schedule a regular eye checkup every year and consult your eye doctor if you suspect a retinal tear or rip. Also, wear protective goggles for sports, driving, working with chemicals, machines or tools, etc.

It Can Happen to Anyone!

There are some famous personalities who suffered from retinal detachment, including the 26 th American President Theodore Roosevelt, renowned basketball player Amar’e Stoudemire, noted publisher, journalist and politician Joseph Pulitzer, soccer star Pele and various others.

Vision loss caused by RD can be prevented or cured with early treatment, if the retinal tear is corrected before detachment occurs. RD is considered a medical emergency that can severely affect your eyesight or even lead to blindness if left untreated, so if you have the symptoms, get in touch with an experienced ophthalmologist or eye surgeon at the InSight Vision Center!

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