Treating your retina to help preserve sight

retinal conditionsAs we age, our vision can be affected by various problems with the retina. The retina is thin tissue in the back of the eye consisting of the nerve cells that capture the images we see.

The center portion of the retina does an important job that can be disrupted
This area is called the macula and is where our “best” vision emanates, allowing us to perform important functions, such as:

  • Driving
  • Reading

Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO)
BRVO is blockage of one of the venous branches of your retina and can cause vision loss and other complications. To help determine if you’ve experienced a BRVO, there are specialized tests we can perform in the office.

Risk factors for BRVO
People over 50 are mostly likely to experience BRVOs, but younger patients can also suffer from the disorder. Other risk factors include:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • History of stroke
  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated blood lipids
  • Glaucoma
  • Smoking

Symptoms of BRVO
This can depend on which venous branch is involved, but can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in area of visual field, such as peripheral vision
  • Significant amount of blood within the retina
  • May not cause any symptoms

Vision-threatening results of BRVO

  • Swelling from leaking blood vessels
  • Loss of blood flow
  • Growth of new abnormal blood vessels

Treatment is available
The Branch Vein Occlusion Study found that these treatments could improve vision prognosis:

  • Laser treatment
  • Medication injections
  • Aspirin therapy

Retinal neovascularization
This condition can cause abnormal, extremely fragile blood vessels to grow from the retina into the eye’s vitreous gel. This can lead to bleeding and formation of scar tissue, as well as floaters and loss of vision.

Treatment for the condition
Treatment can be effective for stabilizing and even reversing blood vessel growth. Bleeding will sometimes clear on its own, but surgery to remove the blood and the vitreous gel may be necessary. In severe cases, the retina may be pulled away from the wall of the eye, requiring surgical repair.

Call us for a consultation: (800) VRS-2500.
If you have any risk factors or signs of retinal conditions, make an appointment today.

VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | Understanding Macular Degeneration Minneapolis MN

Understanding macular degeneration

VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | Understanding Macular Degeneration Minneapolis MNAge related macular degeneration (AMD) is a primary reason for vision loss in people over 50 years of age. It causes damage to the macula, or central portion of the retina, that controls the eye’s ability to see everything that is straight ahead in our line of vision.

The early and middle stages of AMD usually occur without causing any signs or symptoms. For some people, it advances slowly and actual vision loss doesn’t occur for a long time. For others, the disease progresses more quickly and may lead to vision loss in one or both eyes. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect the disease.

Macular degeneration doesn’t cause total blindness
The loss of central vision, however, typically interferes with the vision necessary to complete everyday tasks, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write or do close-up tasks.

Symptoms of AMD

  • Blurry area near center of vision that may increase
  • Blank spots in center of vision
  • Objects not appearing as bright as they used to

Age is a major risk factor for AMD, but there are others
The disease is most likely to occur after age 60, but can strike at an earlier age. In addition:

  • Smoking doubles your risk
  • The disease is more common for Caucasians
  • People with a family history of the disease are also at higher risk

Lifestyle choices matter, too
Research has discovered links between AMD and some lifestyle choices, indicating you may be able to reduce your risk or slow progression.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain normal blood pressure
  • Maintain normal cholesterol level
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a nutritious diet (lots of green, leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish)
  • Wear sunglasses with UV & Blue Light protection
  • Don’t smoke

Do everything you can to prevent Macular Degeneration
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone have a dilated eye exam at least every two to three years between the ages of 45 and 60, and every year after 60. Call for your appointment today: (800) VRS-2500.