Macula | Blaine, MN

How Age-Related Macular Edema Affects Vision

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) describes the damage that occurs in the macula, the part of the eye in which central vision is formed. This common condition is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. Although total blindness is not typically caused by AMD, people with this condition may suffer a diminished quality of life. For this reason, it is important to know how age-related macular edema may appear and what to do if it does.

What Is the Macula?

The macula is a part of the retina that is positioned at the center of the back of the eye. It is the part of the retina where, when light lands, transports electrical messages to the brain to form central vision, that which is straight ahead of the eyes. When the macula is damaged, light processing in this area is interrupted, causing the decrease or loss of central vision.

Symptoms of AMD

Damage to the macula does not cause vision loss right away. Milder symptoms often occur first. These include:

  • Sensitivity to glare
  • Fuzzy, blurry, or shadowing in the central vision
  • Difficulty seeing or reading in low-light
  • Distortion or blurring of straight lines

As the disease worsens, symptoms become more noticeable. When the disease reaches an advanced stage, everyday tasks can become a challenge due to the marked decrease in the central area of vision. Sufferers have a difficult time reading road signs, seeing objects up close, watching television, driving, and performing work or chores. Being able to see clearly only in peripheral vision, sufferers can become limited in how they engage in life.

Treating AMD

A board-certified ophthalmologist can diagnose AMD during a comprehensive eye exam and discussion of visual symptoms. The early diagnosis of age-related macular edema is imperative to the most successful management of the condition. Doctors use medications or laser therapy to slow the progression of this disease but cannot correct the damage that has occurred.

If you exhibit symptoms of macular degeneration, a thorough eye exam is needed to discover the cause of visual impairment. Our specialists have years of experience treating age-related macular degeneration and can administer care to help preserve your vision for the foreseeable future.

VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA proudly serves patients in several Minnesota cities. To locate an office near you, call (800) VRS-2500.

Vitreo Retinal Surgery

Causes of Blurry Peripheral Vision

Our peripheral vision is our ability to see objects that are to the side of the face without turning our head. It is an expansion of our central vision and necessary for us to engage in life as fully and safely as possible. Sudden peripheral vision loss may feel like tunnel vision, where everything to the side is dark and everything in the central field is quite clear. There are reasons why peripheral vision loss may occur. With prompt attention for this visual disruption, a retinal specialist can identify the cause and, optimally, administer treatment that might restore at least some degree of visual clarity.

Retinal Detachment and Tears

Blurry side vision is one of the primary symptoms of a torn or detached retina. Additional symptoms include sudden spots, flashes, floaters, or a shadow obscuring part of the field of vision. Retinal detachment requires prompt treatment to prevent complete vision loss.


This progressive eye disease involves elevated pressure within the eye. Persistent pressure on the optic nerve can lead to irreversible damage and vision loss. Because damage occurs slowly, patients have a chance to receive care that can preserve as much visual clarity as possible.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa affects the light-sensitivity of the retina, the part of the eye that transfers light to the brain via the optic nerve. The intense sensitivity of the retina leads to gradual degeneration of this part of the eye. Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare eye disorder that cannot be cured but may be managed with appropriate care from a retina specialist.

A Note About Peripheral Vision Loss

Peripheral vision loss may occur suddenly or gradually. People with glaucoma, for instance, are more likely to notice very subtle changes over time. Regardless of the speed of darkening in the peripheral view, it is beneficial to schedule a comprehensive eye exam right away. A board-certified ophthalmologist or retina specialist can determine the cause of visual changes and provide appropriate care.
In the case of sudden peripheral vision loss, floaters, or flashes, emergency medical attention is needed right away.

Contact Our Retinal Care Specialists

We are proud to serve patients from multiple Minnesota cities, including St. Cloud, St. Paul, Minnesota, and more. To locate an office near you, call (800) VRS-2500.

Cloudy Vision or Blurry Vision? There is a Difference!

When a person doesn’t see as well as they used to, the common ways they describe their vision are “blurry” and “cloudy.” Often, the terms are used interchangeably, at least by patients. Doctors know that there are unique differences between cloudy vision and blurry vision. They also know that the causes of either blurriness or cloudiness can vary widely. Because your doctor relies somewhat on your description of what you are experiencing, it is important to know how to accurately describe your situation. Here, we’ll provide some assistance.

What is blurry vision?

When you look through a camera lens to snap a photo, there may be an instant during which objects are out of focus. Using an old-school camera, one could manually alter the focus of objects in their frame. The out-of-focus sensation is what we describe as blurry. Objects may be blurry when you look straight at them or when they sit to one side or the other of your peripheral vision.

Blurry vision may be a sign of:

  • Infection
  • Retinopathy
  • Nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Injury or abrasion to the cornea
  • Corneal scarring
  • Optic neuritis

What is cloudy vision?

Just like a cloudy day, cloudy vision feels as though you are looking through fog or a dirty window. When vision is cloudy, there may be an urge to blink or wipe the eyes to remove the “film.” When a person develops cloudy vision, they may also experience additional symptoms, such as:

  • Double vision
  • Halos or glare around lights
  • Poor night vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Cloudy vision may be a sign of:
  • Cataracts
  • Macular degeneration
  • Inflammation or infection
  • Dirty or damaged contact lenses

Both cloudy and blurry vision may be caused by potentially serious eye conditions. If either symptom persists or becomes severe very quickly, a comprehensive eye exam should be scheduled right away.

VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA proudly serves multiple Minnesota cities with friendly, experienced care. To schedule a consultation with one of our retina specialists, call (800) VRS-2500 to find an office near you.

Eye Care St. Paul, MN

All Eye Doctors are Not the Same

When it comes to your eyes, there are several aspects to consider. Many people make the mistake of thinking that their annual vision checkup is sufficient eye care. There is much more to the eyes than how well they focus on objects at various distances. To really know your eye health and be able to protect it as you age, it is necessary to know how eye specialists differ from one another. Here, we look at the optometrist, the ophthalmologist, and the retinal specialist.

What Is an Optometrist?

An optometrist is the eye specialist who examines your vision. This OD, or doctor of optometry, can address refractive conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and presbyopia, among others. An optometrist can also diagnose and treat eye infection and dry eye syndrome. If a potentially serious eye condition is suspected by an optometrist, a referral may be made to an ophthalmologist.

What Is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has extended their medical education another few years beyond four years of medical school to specialize in vision care and diseases of the eye. The extensive training an ophthalmologist completes enables them to diagnose and treat a wide variety of eye diseases, including cataracts and glaucoma, and treat them with medication or surgery.

What is a Retina Specialist?

A retinal specialist is an ophthalmologist who has extended their education another one to two years after a three-year ophthalmology residency. The additional education focuses on conditions and diseases that specifically affect the retina and vitreous, the clear gel that fills the central part of the eye. The retinal specialist typically sees patients that are referred by their general ophthalmologist for confirmation and treatment of some type of retinal injury or disease. Treatment often involves advanced surgical techniques or the latest, proven nonsurgical modalities.

Trust Your Vision to Vitreo Retinal Surgery

Vitreo Retinal Surgery is a recognized retinal specialty practice that is centered around high-quality patient care. Our board-certified ophthalmologists frequently hold leadership positions in professional societies and remain at the forefront of their medical specialty. We consider it an honor to receive referrals from our esteemed colleagues and the trust of local physicians as well as our patients.

Our staff provides friendly, professional care to patients in multiple cities, including St. Cloud, Minneapolis, Plymouth, and more. To locate an office near you, call  (800) VRS-2500.

What Floaters and Flashes have to do with Retinal Health | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | Minneapolis MN

Common Questions about Floaters

As retinal specialists, we frequently hear questions about visual distortions. Floaters, the appearance of a speck of light or foreign object drifting across the field of vision, are quite common. Here, we want to discuss the questions that our patients ask and what you need to know if you begin to notice floaters in your own vision.

What is an eye floater?

A floater is the appearance of some type of spot or worm-like shape moving across the eye. The “spot” is actually a clump of protein that has formed inside the eye.

How can I identify a floater?

Floaters appear in a number of forms. Some people describe floaters as cobwebs moving through their vision when they are looking at a broad, blank visual field. A floater may look like hairs, birds flying way off in the distance, black dots, or bright lights. Floaters may move along with the eye as observation moves from one object to another. Sometimes spots move when observation stays on a singular object. Often, when a person tries to catch on to a floater, the apparition disappears momentarily.

What causes floaters in the eye?

Floaters are made up of protein molecules in the eye. These clumps of proteins develop because, with age, the gel-like fluid that fills most of the space in the eye changes in consistency. Instead of staying dense and gelatinous, the vitreous becomes more fluid and watery. As this happens, clumps of protein have nothing to do but float. When they do, they cast shadows onto the retina as light passes through the eye. It is the shadows on the retina that appear as floaters in the field of vision.

Typically, floaters are a visual distortion that is related only to the aging process. Eye injury or a retinal tear or detachment could also cause floaters.

Should I be concerned about floaters?

Most adults experience floaters at some point as their vitreous matter changes. Floaters are typically not perceived as dangerous, except in instances in which numerous floaters appear suddenly.

The sudden onset of floaters in the eye could indicate a retinal tear or detachment, which occurs when the shrinking vitreous pulls on the retina at the back of the eye. Depending on the degree of tugging, the retina may partially detach from the back wall of the eye. A retinal tear or detachment may also cause symptoms such as shadowing across the field of vision. If severe floaters and shadowing come on quickly or worsen quickly, emergency medical care should be sought.

Floaters should not be a significant cause for concern. However, if spots in your field of vision are disruptive, you may benefit from treatment with a retinal specialist.

We are pleased to serve patients in areas including Duluth, St. Cloud, Edina, and more. For more information on retinal services, call (800) VRS-2500.

Central Retinal Vein Occlusion Minneapolis MN

Cryotherapy for Retinal Disease

You may have heard of cryotherapy as a treatment for warts or early skin cancers. You may have even heard about the health benefits of whole-body cryotherapy, such as faster tissue healing and inflammation-control. The fact of the matter is that science has discovered a multitude of ways to utilize this technology, including helping people with retinal disease.

Retinal Cryotherapy

The retina is a critical part of the eye, located at the back of the eye where light is supposed to land after passing through anterior structures like the cornea. The retina is a thin piece of tissue but one that fulfills an important role in vision. In the retina are cells called rods and cones, each is very sensitive to light and picks up visual details from light to pass onto the brain via the optic nerve. Being that the retina is so sensitive, this part of the eye is also susceptible to damage. For example:

  • Blood supply to the retina may be blunted by irregularly shaped or damaged blood vessels.
  • Tumors may develop on the retina (retinoblastoma).
  • The retina may become ischemic due to the low oxygen supply.
  • The retina may partially or completely detach.

Because the retina transfers light to the optic nerve for translation into visual images, damage to this part of the eye will cause some degree of visual disturbance. Depending on the problem and its severity, the disruption may range from blurriness to vision loss. Retinal cryotherapy provides your retinal specialist with a way to counter certain problems.

Retinal cryotherapy is a treatment in which extreme cold is utilized to create scar tissue in the retina in a precisely controlled manner. The formation of scar tissue causes “tissue destruction” that subsequently provokes a healing response in which retinal tissue is regenerated. Using retinal cryotherapy, it may be possible to restore vision to some extent, sometimes completely.

Receive Specialized Eye Care When You Need It

The physicians at Vitreo Retinal Specialists, PA are all board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Together, we have been serving patients in areas in and around St. Paul, Edina, Minneapolis, Duluth, St. Cloud, and other communities for several years. Patients and referring physicians have access to our team 24 hours a day and can expect prompt and compassionate care.

To arrange a consultation with one of our specialists, call (800) VRS-2500.



Retinopathy MN

How Your Blood Pressure Can Affect Retinal Health

The average life is an awfully long time to live with unpleasant eye conditions. As retinal specialists, it is our mission to help people maintain a good quality of life by handling various forms of eye disease or injury; but first, we have to know they exist. It isn’t enough for us to understand this, you also need to be aware of the particular risks your eyes may face. One that we’d like to discuss here is your blood pressure.

High blood pressure, referred to as hypertension, is a common health condition that is typically thought to affect cardiovascular health. Rarely do we make the jump straight from observing an increase in pressure in the body’s veins when the heart beats to wondering how that will affect the eyes. The thing about high blood pressure is that it can affect any vein anywhere in the body. Because the blood vessels in the eye are particularly small and delicate, they may be more susceptible to problems related to high blood pressure.

Hypertension and Your Eyes

When a person has high blood pressure, there is more force placed on the blood vessels than is normal and healthy. Increased pressure in the veins can degrade their walls, causing swelling. In the eyes, this can lead to leakage. What is of concern about high blood pressure is that the increase in vascular force does not occur with symptoms; it can go on for years without anyone knowing. This is why adults of all ages are encouraged to schedule annual health checkups during which blood pressure and other screenings are performed. Without you even knowing you have high blood pressure, your eyes could be suffering progressive and irreparable damage.

The eye condition related to high blood pressure is referred to as hypertensive retinopathy. Though no obvious symptoms may alert you to this condition, your eye doctor can see the clues. The signs of hypertensive retinopathy may be observed during a dilated eye exam using an ophthalmoscope, a lighted instrument that illuminates the structures in the eye. During this type of exam, the ophthalmologist can see the optic nerve, the retina and its center (the macula), and the blood vessels throughout the back of the eye. Hypertensive retinopathy may present as swelling in the macula, narrowing of the blood vessels, or micro-leaks from blood vessels.

Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms

The way that hypertensive retinopathy is ideally treated is through proper medical management which lowers blood pressure. Once the retina has been extensively damaged, there may be no way to restore optimal vision.

Vitreo Retinal Surgery has several offices in Minnesota to assist you. Call (800) VRS-2500 for more information on retinopathy and potential treatment options to manage eye health.

Retinal Detachment Minneapolis, MN

Vitrectomy Recovery: What You Should Know

Patient wellness is a primary focus of the care provided here at Vitreo Retinal Surgery. To achieve our high standard of care, we prioritize patient education. If you need surgical retina treatment, we want you to know all relevant details so you can make the best decision for your eye health based on the full assessment of risks and benefits of any given procedure. Here, we discuss what patients need to know about vitrectomy.

What is Vitrectomy?

Vitrectomy eye surgery removes the vitreous gel that fills the middle section of the eye. The vitreous gel may be removed to allow direct access to the retina to address any issues that may exist. After the retina has been appropriately treated, the space between the front and back of the eye must be filled. In many cases, it is filled with a gas bubble. Sometimes, silicone oil is inserted into the space.

Who Might Need Vitrectomy?

Conditions for which vitrectomy may be recommended include:

  • Internal eye bleeding
  • Macular hole
  • Damaged caused by diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal tear or detachment

After Vitrectomy

One of the critical aspects of vitrectomy recovery is that the patient maintains a consistent position that supports the gas bubble or silicone oil during the healing process. Specific activities need to be avoided until follow up with the retinal specialist. These include any strenuous activities, alcohol consumption, smoking, lifting objects over five pounds, and bending over. Several follow up visits may be scheduled after vitrectomy to observe the progress of healing. If silicone oil has been used, a secondary procedure is necessary to remove it from the eye, as this does not absorb.

Learn More about Vitrectomy from Vitreo Retinal Specialists

We don’t want you to have any lingering questions about the treatment that has been recommended for your eye condition. Our friendly staff is happy to speak with you or schedule a consultation in one of our conveniently located office where you can sit down with a qualified retinal specialist to discuss your eye health, treatment options, and questions.

Vitreo Retinal Specialists proudly serves patients from areas included Edina, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, St. Paul, and more. Call 800-VRS-2500 to locate an office near you.

Are your Sunglasses Doing the Job? | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | St. Paul MN

Are your Sunglasses Doing the Job?

Are your Sunglasses Doing the Job? | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | St. Paul MNWe’re right in the midst of the gorgeous summer months, and that means you may be spending more time outdoors. Whenever you are, it is vital that you protect your eyes. UV rays are harmful enough that they could cause permanent damage. When you wear sunglasses, you do more than diminish the glare of sunlight. You also filter the rays that enter the eye, which eases the stress on internal structures.

UV exposure can be decreased approximately 30% behind absorptive lenses and by topping off sun protection with an appropriate, wide-brimmed hat. This is especially critical when vision is already impaired. Individuals with retinal conditions, diabetic eye disease, or glaucoma benefit significantly from an increase in contrast and a decrease in glare during the daytime hours.

We are now seeing, more than ever, that sunglasses are far more than a fashion accessory. The filtering of sunlight is necessary in order to reduce the risks of cataracts later in life, and also of macular degeneration. In order to gain all of the benefits offered by sunglasses, though, you’ve got to have the right pair.

Choosing the Right Pair

It is possible to filter 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays with a good pair of sunglasses. An eye care professional can assist you in identifying your needs, and also in understanding the specifications that your spectacles need to have.

Some simple tips for choosing sunglasses include:

  • Ultraviolet-blocking is a coating applied to a lens. This is less efficient than a protective lens.
  • Dark lenses are not better. It’s the claim of absorbing a high percentage of UVA and UVB light that matters. This should be stated on the product label.
  • Polycarbonate lenses are durable, will not shatter, and they offer UVA and UVB blocking. These lenses are only available from eye care professionals.
  • Individuals with low vision can still benefit from sunglasses. We recommend scheduling a consultation with an experienced ophthalmologist.
  • Polarized lenses reduce glare and are optimal for use near the water. These lenses may also improve comfort for individuals who are photosensitive.

Schedule a Consultation

There are several ways you can take great care of your eyes. When advanced treatments are necessary, we’re here for you. Vitreo Retinal Surgery has eight offices throughout Minnesota to serve you. Contact us at (800) 877-2500.

Don’t Be Part of A Vision Loss Statistic

eye care MinneapolisYou may not have even noticed, but if you’re around 50 years old, you could be suffering from the most frequent cause of vision loss for those 50 and over: age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD does have symptoms, but you might not see them

Many people who have AMD may not have noticed that their vision is deteriorating. The disease can particularly go unnoticed if it is only affecting one eye.

Another obstacle to noticing AMD

Many people assume their vision loss issues are simply a natural and inevitable part of aging. AMD symptoms are more serious and can be recognized if you know what to look for. Patients with certain types of AMD can benefit from recent developments in treatment if diagnosed early. This is also why it’s important to see your eye doctor annually for vision checks.

Call for an appointment today (800-VRS-2500), especially if you have any of these symptoms:

  • A blurry area near the center of your vision that may be increasing
  • Blank spots in center of your vision
  • Things not appearing as bright as they normally do

AMD’s two classifications: dry and wet

Dry AMD doesn’t usually cause severe vision loss

  • It’s characterized by the accumulation of small yellow deposits underneath the retina.
  • It can cause severe vision loss if central atrophy develops.
  • An eye doctor should closely monitor patients with dry AMD, as it may progress to wet AMD.

Wet AMD accounts for approximately 90% of severe vision loss due to the disease

  • It’s characterized by the presence of abnormal new blood growth underneath the retina.
  • The main symptoms are worsening central vision, blind spots, and distorted vision.

There are ways to manage progression and preserve vision

Presently, there is no strategy for reducing the risk of developing dry AMD and no treatment to reverse the condition. However, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study did show that vitamins might help visual atrophy from progressing from intermediate to severe. And wet AMD has several treatments that can help keep the condition stable over the long term.

Schedule a consultation

If you are interested in age-related macular degeneration, please call 800-VRS-2500 to schedule a consultation at one of our locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Blaine, Edina, Oakdale, Plymouth, St. Cloud and Duluth.