What is the retina? Your eye is like a camera and your retina is the film. The retina is a fine sheet of nerve tissue which lines the inside of your eye. Once light rays enter the eye they are focused on the retina through the lens. The object captured is sent to the optic nerve then along to the brain to interpret. This process is like the development process of the film from the camera to a photo.
Dr. David Gendelman and Dr. Michelle Liang are fellowship-trained specialists in retinal diseases and along with Dr. Phillip Gendelman have performed thousands of surgeries and treatments for diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration, retinal tears, retinal detachments and macular holes.
Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)
ARMD is the leading cause of diminished central vision in those 50 or older. The macula, responsible for the eye’s detail and color vision, is the affected area in persons with ARMD. There are two types of ARMD, dry AMD for which there is only preventative treatment and wet AMD with a few known successful treatments available.
Signs and Symptoms
The macula is responsible for central vision, so all symptoms will influence your straight-ahead visual clarity. Some of the more common symptoms people have are:
- Difficulty reading or performing tasks
- A black spot or dark circle appearing in the center of your vision
- Distorted vision, straight lines appearing wavy or bent
The effects of age-related macular degeneration slowly progresses over time, and it can, at times, go unnoticed for many years before being diagnosed. The best way to maintain good vision is with a thorough eye examination by an ophthalmologist with the experience and the technology to accurately test for it.
Treatment for age related macular degeneration must be targeted at stopping the leakage of fluid or blood into the retina, as well as the continual growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye. While the use of certain vitamins and minerals are used, the most successful treatments are the use of injectable medication such as Lucentis or Avastin, or Eylea and laser therapy.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans suffering with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and early detection is the key to maintaining good eye health and preventing vision loss. If you have diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes, it is important to schedule annual eye exams with your ophthalmologist, so that you can properly monitor the health of your eyes.
Patients at risk, or who have diabetes, should have comprehensive eye exams annually, control their blood sugar (glucose), blood pressure, and cholesterol levels at all times, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet. Diabetic patients should also refrain from smoking.
There are two stages of retinopathy. The first stage is non-proliferative, which may progress to proliferative.
Signs and Symptoms
Spots or dark strings floating in your vision
Blurry, spotty, hazy or impaired color vision
Dark or empty areas in your vision
If diabetic retinopathy is detected early, treatment is usually successful at minimizing or preventing vision loss.
The most common form of treatment is intravitreal injection with either Avastin, Lucentis or Eylea. Laser photocoagulation is another technique that is a painless procedure that allows the doctor to seal broken blood vessels and also help prevent abnormal new blood vessels from growing in the retina.
If blood has leaked into the eye and cannot be treated with a laser or intravitreal injection, abnormal blood vessel growth can be addressed with a procedure called vitrectomy.
New treatments with intravitreal injections of Avastin can also be helpful at preserving vision and diabetic retinopathy.