Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that represent diabetic damage to the eye. They can cause severe vision loss or even blindness. Some of the eye diseases associated with diabetes are cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. This is why regular eye exams are especially important for those with diabetes.
According to the National Eye Institute, it is estimated that nearly 5.4 million Americans aged 18 and over currently have diabetic retinopathy. This eye disease causes over 8000 cases of new blindness annually, and is the primary cause of blindness for people ages 25 to 74 (Valero and Drouilhet, 2001).
Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic macular edema (DME) is swelling of the macula, or central retina, in patients with diabetes mellitus. The retina is like the film in a camera, and the central part of the retina is the most important for detailed central vision.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the deterioration of the macula, which is located in the center of the retina, and is responsible for sharp central vision. In general, can occur in patients 55 and older and causes gradual or in some cases rapid vision loss in the center of vision.
The retina is a light-sensitive extension of the brain that lines the inner surface of the eye. It detects light and converts the image of the external world into electrical impulses that are sent from the eye to the brain for interpretation along the optic nerve.
During a retinal detachment, the thin retinal tissue lifts from its supporting tissue, initially causing loss of peripheral (side) vision. Most times, the retina does not detach completely, and doctors may be able to restore all or most of lost vision. However, in some cases severe vision loss can occur.
There is no pain associated with a retinal detachment. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency, and it is recommended to contact your ophthalmologist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- a sudden or gradual increase in either the number of floaters and/or flashes in the eye,
- and/or the appearance of a curtain over the field of vision.
“Floaters” is the term used to describe the symptom of seeing small lines or dots that move. Floaters are tiny clumps of the vitreous gel, the fluid that fills the inside of the eye. As the eye moves, these floaters also move within the eye, casting shadows onto the retina. Typically they are most noticeable when looking at a plain background such as a white wall or a bright blue sky.
A macular pucker occurs when a layer of scar tissue grows on the surface of the macula, which is located in the center of the retina. The macula is responsible for sharp, central vision. As we age, the vitreous gel in the middle of the eye begins to shrink and pull away from the retina. This is normal, however, if the vitreous is firmly attached, it can cause scar tissue to develop as it pulls away. Sometimes, this scar tissue can warp and contract, causing the retina to wrinkle and become distorted. Macular puckers can cause distortion, blurriness, and blind spots in central vision.
Mild cases of macular pucker may not require treatment. For more severe cases, a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy is recommended. During this procedure, the surgeon will use microsurgery instruments to remove the scar tissue and vitreous gel that are pulling on the macula.
A macular hole is a small break on the macula, which is located in the center of the retina. Macular holes cause distorted, blurry central vision usually associated with a small blind spot. Macular holes generally occur in those over the age of 60. Macular holes are progressive, meaning they will get worse over time without intervention.
Rarely,a small macular hole may heal on its own. However, most of the time surgery is required to try and close the hole and improve vision. A surgical procedure called a vitrectomy can be used to treat macular holes.
Cystoid Macular Edema
Cystoid Macular Edema (CME) is a condition in which the macula develops microscopic swelling, which can blur the central vision. In some cases, cyst-like collections of fluid may form. CME most commonly develops following cataract surgery.
Retinitis pigmentosa is the most common of group of hereditary progressive retinal degenerations and dystrophies. There is considerable variation and overlap among the various forms of retinitis pigmentosa. Common to all of them is progressive degeneration of the retina, specifically to light receptors, known as the rods and cones. The rods of the retina are involved earlier in the course of the disease, and cone deterioration occurs later. In this progressive degeneration of the retina, the peripheral vision slowly constricts and central vision is usually retained until late in the disease.
This is commonly called cancer of the retina. Tumors develop in the retina cells, which are developing rapidly in early life. The onset generally occurs between the third month of pregnancy and 4 years of age. Retinoblastomas may be sporadic or hereditary. Retinoblastoma is a life-threatening disease. (Source: www.PatientInfo.com 2016)
OCLI Second Opinions
There are a number of conditions associated with the retina. The experienced retinal experts at Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island combine the use of innovative technology and methods to treat a number of these conditions. If you are living with a retinal disorder and would like a second opinion, please call us today and we will make an appointment for you.