Eye health is an expansive subject that encompasses much more than basic vision. The eyes are complex structures that contain nerves and vessels and liquid and more. Therefore, there is no “cookie-cutter” method of managing the various conditions that may affect the eyes. This is why there are optometrists, ophthalmologist, and retinal specialists. The varying educational focus of each specialty allows doctors to meet the needs of patients with particular needs. Here, we discuss the needs that are met by the retinal specialist.
What is a retina specialist?
A retinal specialist is an ophthalmologist who has obtained further post-graduate training that includes a study of diseases and surgical techniques of the retina and vitreous body of the eye. The retina is a layer of tissue at the back of the eye that is believed to trigger impulses in the optic nerve to send light to the brain. The vitreous body is the gel-like fluid that fills the space between the lens at the front of the eye and the retina. To fully understand the anatomy, diseases, and treatments related to this area of the eye, a retinal specialist completes approximately 10 years of educational training.
Conditions Treated by a Retinal Specialist
There are numerous conditions that can be treated by a retinal specialist, including complex situations that may be beyond the scope of a standard ophthalmology practice. Vitreo Retinal Surgery provides diagnosis and treatment for conditions such as:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The degeneration of the macula is a potentially serious eye disease that can result in vision loss. Appropriate treatment for AMD requires thorough evaluation which, in some circumstances, may involve specialized instruments or techniques.
- Diabetic retinopathy. This eye disease occurs secondary to diabetes and is triggered by elevated blood sugar levels. Too much sugar in the blood causes swelling and leakage in the delicate blood vessels in the eye. These vessels, as well as the abnormal growth of new vessels, may be treated with laser surgery and pharmaceutical therapies.
- Retinal detachment. Separation of the retina from surrounding tissue is a rare occurrence, affecting 1 in 10,000 people. Surgery is almost always necessary to reposition the retina and close the hole or tear that caused separation.
- Macular hole. The macula is situated within the retina and is integral to visual acuity. A hole may develop secondary to injury but, in many cases of macular hole, there is no known cause. Vitrectomy surgery is currently the only method of treating this condition.