A Look at the Progression of AMD | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | Minneapolis MN

A Look at the Progression of AMD

A Look at the Progression of AMD | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | Minneapolis MNAge-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is attributed to thousands of instances of low vision and blindness. This eye disease typically occurs later in life and involves the central part of the retina. It is understandable that any person diagnosed with macular degeneration, wet or dry, would feel a great deal of concern. Part of our role as retinal specialists is to diagnose and manage age-related macular degeneration. Another aspect of personal care, one that is no less important, is our support of patients who are in need of ongoing information. One of the questions that patients may have about this condition is how fast it will progress. We’re going to touch on that here.

Rate of Progression Can Depend on the Type of AMD

Wet macular degeneration is the more severe if the two types. This condition involves blood and fluid leakage from cells that grow beneath the retina. The progression of dry AMD is slower and usually, does not cause as extensive vision loss as does wet AMD.

Progression of AMD Risk Factors

Research suggests that smoking significantly increases the risk of macular degeneration. This is because caustic chemicals in cigarettes can damage blood vessels. Free radicals are also more challenging to fight when the body is also cleansing out toxins from cigarette products. This is a risk factor that one can control. Since hereditary factors are uncontrollable, healthy lifestyle habits such as eating foods rich in antioxidants can help offset them.

Early Diagnosis is Key

Ideally, macular degeneration is a condition that can be diagnosed early. When we can identify the early warning signs of this condition, patients have the best possible opportunity to respond to treatment. There is no cure for AMD, therefore only therapeutic treatment can help preserve eyesight for the greatest length of time. Yearly eye exams become even more important as adults reach the age of 60, but should begin much earlier.

Schedule a Consultation

Vitreo Retinal Surgery has multiple offices in Minnesota, including St. Paul and Minneapolis. Call (800) VRS-2500 for more information on age-related macular degeneration.

Understanding Retinal Detachment

retinal detachment | minnesotaA retinal detachment happens to one in 10,000 people in the U.S. every year. If not properly treated, this serious eye problem can lead to loss of sight. As we age, the eye’s vitreous gel contracts and liquefies, making it more likely to cause a tear in your retina. The fluid inside the eye can then leak through the tear, and the retina may separate from the back of the eye.

Risk factors that could lead to retinal detachment

  • Nearsightedness
  • History of cataract surgery
  • Family history of retinal detachment
  • Retinal detachment in the other eye
  • Weak areas in the retina

Symptoms that could indicate a retinal detachment

Since retinal detachment causes no pain, contact your eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Floaters
  • Flashing lights
  • Area of darkness that may enter your vision from the side

Can a retinal detachment be repaired?

The condition can typically be treated with surgery, performed under local anesthesia in about an hour. It can be accomplished by:

  • Bringing the retina back into position
  • Sealing the torn area

One of the most common surgical repair techniques is the scleral buckle, performed by placing a silicone band around the eye.

In some cases, if the detachment is minor, it can be treated with:

  • Laser therapy
  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Pneumatic retinopexy (the injection of air or gas into the eye, along with laser or cryo)

This procedure is only for certain detachments and requires that the patient maintains a specific head position so that the air or gas bubble can float up against the retina to keep it in position as it heals.

After retinal reattachment

Your outcome will usually depend on:

  • The length of time your retina has been detached
  • How much of your retina is detached
  • Whether or not the center of your vision is affected

If the center of vision isn’t involved, close to full recovery of vision is possible. If the center of vision is affected, it’s likely you will experience some permanent vision loss.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are interested in learning more about Retinal Detachment, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Prescription Eyeglasses Minneapolis | St. Paul MN

Prescription Eyeglasses

More than 140 million people in the United States wear eyeglasses. Eyeglasses improve vision by adjusting the way the eyes bend and focus light. Ideally, light rays are refracted, or bent, as they pass through the cornea so that they focus on the retina in the back of the eye. In a healthy eye, this means that objects can be seen clearly. Most people have corneas that have a shallow or steep curvature which causes light rays to focus in front of or behind the retina. Objects may then appear blurry at certain distances or at all distances.

Glasses can correct these refractive errors. Prescriptions are measured for each eye so patients can enjoy optimal vision clarity, usually 20/20. Eyewear may be used for certain activities, such as reading for farsighted, or hyperopic patients and driving or watching television for nearsighted, or myopic patients, or may be worn at all times.

Regular eye exams test for the development and progression of refractive errors and help your doctor provide a proper prescription if eyeglasses are needed. Exams are also an invaluable tool in the early detection of eye disease.

Retinal Vein Occlusion Minneapolis & St Paul, MN

The retina is a thin sheet of nerve tissue located in the back of the eye where light rays are focused and transmitted to the brain. Tiny blood vessels supply the retina with oxygen and other nutrients. Arteries deliver blood and the retinal veins carry it. Sometimes one of these arteries hardens or swells and presses on a nearby vein. The vein can then become blocked, or occluded, making it difficult for blood to leave the eye. This condition is called a retinal vein occlusion, or RVO. A retinal vein occlusion is also known as venous stasis retinopathy or hemorrhagic retinopathy. The blocked circulation caused by a retinal vein occlusion can lead to:

  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Growth of abnormal blood vessels
  • Partial or total vision loss

Retinal vein occlusions are the second most common cause of blood vessel-related vision loss, the first being diabetic retinopathy. A retinal vein occlusion typically occurs in men and women over the age of 50, particularly those in their 60s and 70s.

Types Of Retinal Vein Occlusions

Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion (BRVO)

A branch retinal vein occlusion is the blockage of a vein in the inner portion of the eye, where retinal veins “branch out” to smaller veins.

Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO)

A central retinal vein occlusion is a blockage that occurs in the central or main retinal vein located at the back of the eye.

Risk Factors For A Retinal Vein Occlusion

Risk factors for a retinal vein occlusion include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Glaucoma
  • Vitreous hemorrhage
  • Macular edema
  • Inflammatory conditions

Symptoms Of A Retinal Vein Occlusion

Symptoms of a retinal vein occlusion include a sudden loss of vision or blurring of vision in all or a part of the eye.

Diagnosis Of A Retinal Vein Occlusion

A retinal vein occlusion is detected during a retinal exam of the eye. After a thorough medical examination of the eye, the following diagnostic tests may be conducted to confirm the diagnosis of a retinal vein occlusion:

  • Fluorescein angiogram
  • Testing of intraocular pressure
  • Pupil reflex response
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Visual field testing
  • Visual acuity
  • Retinal photography
  • Blood tests

The initial bleeding can prevent the ophthalmologist from seeing any other symptoms for three to six months or longer. The patient is monitored during this time until the blood clears.

Treatment Of A Retinal Vein Occlusion

Treatment of a retinal vein occlusion depends on the severity and location of the blockage. Most patients vision will be restored but their vision is rarely is the same as it was before the occlusion.

There is no cure for a retinal vein occlusion. Emphasis is placed on prevention of the condition by treating the symptoms and preventing further vision loss. A retinal vein occlusion is an indication of vascular disease. It is critical to reduce the risks of vascular disease by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a diet low in fat
  • Maintaining weight
  • Exercising regularly

Complications Of A Retinal Vein Occlusion

Complications of a retinal vein occlusion occur and require treatment that may include:

  • Focal laser treatment for macular edema
  • Intraocular injections of an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor
  • Laser treatment to prevent the growth of blood vessels that can cause glaucoma
Multifocal Intraocular Lenses | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA MN

Multifocal Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) Minneapolis & St Paul, MN

INTRAOCULAR LENSES

An intraocular lens, or IOL, is the artificial replacement lens implanted when a patient’s natural lens has been surgically removed during cataract surgery. A wide variety of replacement lenses are available to cataract patients, each offering its own advantages for post-surgery vision. The most effective lens to use depends on the patient’s preferences and particular vision goals. Goals for vision differ according to individual occupations and lifestyles. IOLs often eliminate the need for glasses or contacts after cataract surgery, conveniently providing most patients with clear vision.

MULTIFOCAL INTRAOCULAR LENSES

Multifocal intraocular lenses are designed to correct vision at varying distances. They are appealing to individuals who would prefer not to require eyeglasses or contact lenses after surgery, or to require corrective lenses only for certain activities.

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Macular Degeneration Minneapolis & St Paul, MN

eye

Over 30 percent of adults age 75 and older have been diagnosed with advanced or intermediate age-related macular degeneration

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a common condition in older adults and the leading cause of vision loss in people age 50 and older. Macular degeneration affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for the crisp, detailed central vision needed for reading or driving.

TYPES OF MACULAR DEGENERATION

Macular degeneration can be classified as either dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular). Dry macular degeneration is the more common diagnosis, and is considered to be an early stage of the disease. This form of the disorder usually develops as the macular tissues thin during aging. Deposits of pigment within the macula may also occur.

In only about 10 percent of patients does the condition progress to the more advanced form of the disease. If this occurs and the patient develops wet macular degeneration, new abnormal blood vessels develop beneath the macula, causing a leakage of blood and fluid. This leakage can lead to the creation of blind spots and permanent damage to central vision.

With either type of macular degeneration, peripheral vision is maintained.

RISK FACTORS FOR MACULAR DEGENERATION

As people age, everyone is at risk for macular degeneration, but some people are at elevated risk due to genetic and/or environmental factors. Some individuals have a genetic variant known as complement factor H that makes them more likely to develop this condition. Nearly half of the cases of blindness associated with macular degeneration are linked to this genetic deficiency.

Macular degeneration is most common in females and people with light skin or eye color, and the risk for all patients increases as they age. Over 30 percent of adults age 75 and older have been diagnosed with advanced or intermediate age-related macular degeneration.

Other factors that may increase the risk of developing macular degeneration include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • High fat diet
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain medications

Patients can minimize their risk of macular degeneration by exercising, eating a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and getting regular eye examinations.

SYMPTOMS OF MACULAR DEGENERATION

visionPatients with dry macular degeneration may notice gradual changes to their vision, including:

  • Shadowy areas in the central vision
  • Fuzzy and distorted vision
  • Difficulty perceiving color
  • Difficulty seeing fine details
  • Blind spots in central vision

If the disease progresses to the wet form, patients may also perceive straight lines as wavy or crooked, and have larger and larger blind spots, increasingly losing central vision. With wet macular degeneration, central vision loss can occur rapidly, sometimes in as little as a few days or weeks.

Macular degeneration may necessitate many lifestyle changes as it progresses. Patients may lose the ability to drive, have difficulty reading, and have difficulty recognizing faces. Because they retain peripheral vision, however, they usually remain capable of managing independently.

DIAGNOSIS OF MACULAR DEGENERATION

The ophthalmologist may be able to detect early signs of macular degeneration through a regular eye examination while the patient is still asymptomatic. Any signs of this condition can be further confirmed by testing a patient’s central vision with an Amsler grid test. Treating detecting macular degeneration and other serious eye conditions as early as possible can help to prevent permanent loss of vision.

TREATMENT OF MACULAR DEGENERATION

While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are several treatment options available to help patients manage this condition and preserve their vision. The best treatment option for each patient depends on the severity and type of the condition, as well as how much, if any, permanent vision loss has occurred.

Intraocular injections of vascular endothelial growth factor are often successful in stopping abnormal blood vessel growth in wet macular degeneration. The medications are injected into the vitreous of the eye on a monthly basis to control the damaging effects of wet macular degeneration. Photodynamic therapy is also effective in removing the newly developing abnormal blood vessels characteristic of wet macular degeneration. Many patients also benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements, which help to clear out toxic substances that may build up.

It is essential for patients with macular degeneration, wet or dry, to seek continuous medical treatment to manage the condition and prevent permanent vision loss.

Macular Pucker Minneapolis & St Paul, MN

Macular Pucker Minneapolis & St Paul, MN

eyes

A macular pucker, also known as an epiretinal membrane, is a thin layer of scar tissue that forms over the macula, the sensitive part of the retina that is located at the back of the eye. The macula is the area of the retina that provides clear, sharp central vision.

CAUSES OF A MACULAR PUCKER

Macular puckers often develop on their own as a part of the natural aging process. Particles that have drifted into the vitreous (the gel that fills the eye) settle onto the macula and begin to obscure vision. Membranes may also result from eye conditions or diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, inflammation, injury or vascular conditions. These are called secondary epiretinal membranes, whereas spontaneously formed membranes are called idiopathic.

SYMPTOMS OF A MACULAR PUCKER

Many macular puckers do not disrupt vision. Thicker puckers can create wrinkles or puckers in the macula resulting in some of the following symptoms:

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Straight lines appear as wavy lines
  • Difficulty with fine detail or print

A macular pucker typically affects one eye. Vision loss varies based on the thickness of the pucker. Peripheral vision is not affected and there is no risk of blindness.

DIAGNOSIS OF A MACULAR PUCKER

After a thorough examination of the eye, the physician will perform a series of diagnostic tests. These tests may include:

  • Dilated eye examination
  • Fluorescein angiography
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

TREATMENT OF A MACULAR PUCKER

While some macular puckers heal on their own, surgery is recommended for those that do not. Vitrectomy is performed as an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia. During the procedure, the vitreous gel is removed and replaced with a saline solution that will fill the eye and lift the pucker away from the macula. There is no non-surgical alternative to treat a macular pucker.

Retinal Detachment Minneapolis | St. Paul MN

Retinal Detachment Minneapolis & St Paul, MN

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina of the eye is pulled away from the underlying tissue to which it is attached. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency which can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. In most cases, the detachment is a slowly progressing issue which must be treated once symptoms are realized. In some cases, a detachment occurs due to a trauma which causes a tear in the retina, allowing fluid to enter the vitreous and pull on the retinal tissue.

CAUSES OF A RETINAL DETACHMENT

Retinal detachment can be complication of cataract surgery. A severe inflammation may alter the position of the retinal tissue and begin the detachment process. Other causes of a retinal detachment may be as follows:

  • Nearsightedness
  • A retinal tear
  • Family history of retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataract surgery
  • Trauma
  • Existing eye condition

SYMPTOMS OF A RETINAL DETACHMENT

Symptoms of retinal detachment may progress slowly or rapidly, but both should be reported to a medical doctor as soon as possible so as to minimize the risk of vision loss. Some of the symptoms of a retinal detachment include:

  • A sudden decrease in visual acuity
  • A sudden increase in the amount of “floaters” in vision
  • Bright flashes in the periphery
  • An unnatural “curving” of straight lines
  • Loss of central vision
  • A dense shadow throughout the visual field

The patient should be taken to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

DIAGNOSIS OF A RETINAL DETACHMENT

retinalDiagnosis of a retinal detachment is made after a thorough medical eye examination and the performance of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Dilated eye examination
  • Ultrasound of the eye
  • Fundus photography of the retina
  • Visual acuity test
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Electroretinogram
  • Fluorescein angiography
  • Ophthalmoscopy

TREATMENT OF A RETINAL DETACHMENT

A retinal detachment may be treated in many ways, which may include one or both of the following:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Laser photocoagulation
  • Pneumatic retinopexy
  • Scleral buckle
  • Vitrectomy

Most surgeries to repair a retinal detachment are successful. In some cases, a second procedure will need to be performed. After a successful procedure, vision will take time to improve but may not return to previous levels of acuity.

Retinal Tears Minneapolis & St Paul, MN

vision

The retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eye. It is attached to the vitreous, the gel-like substance that composes most of the eye’s volume. As a result of the aging process, the consistency of the vitreous thins and its shape changes, sometimes causing it to pull away from the retina. This separation, known as posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), is a normal part of aging, but it can result in a retinal tear. Since, without treatment, a retinal tear can cause retinal detachment that may result in blindness, it is important for adults over the age of 50 to be vigilant about getting regular eye examinations.

CAUSES OF A RETINAL TEAR

In addition to aging, there are other possible causes of a retinal tear, including blunt force trauma to the eye and complications of eye surgery. Patients who are nearsighted, or who have a family history of retinal tears, are at greater risk.

SYMPTOMS OF A RETINAL TEAR

While a retinal tear does not usually cause pain, patients may experience the following symptoms:

  • Flashes or floaters in the field of vision
  • Reduction of vision
  • Shadows or a curtain in the peripheral vision

Floaters or blocked areas of vision (curtains) may result from a retinal tear because as the vitreous pulls away from the retina, debris loosens and floats across the field of vision. Stress on the retina as the vitreous pulls away may also result in the production of images, such as flashing lights. Floaters, which may appear as dots, circles, lines, clouds or webs, are common, experienced by about 70 percent of the population, and do not necessarily indicate a retinal tear. If floaters or flashes appear suddenly, however, there is cause for concern. This situation requires immediately medical consultation.

DIAGNOSIS OF A RETINAL TEAR

The sooner a retinal tear is diagnosed and treated, the less likely it will develop into a retinal detachment. Diagnosis of a retinal tear is made after a thorough medical eye examination and the performance of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Dilated eye examination
  • Ultrasound of the eye
  • Fundus photography of the retina
  • Visual acuity test
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Electroretinogram
  • Fluorescein angiography
  • Ophthalmoscopy

Early detection, and prompt treatment, of a retinal tear can often prevent the retina from detaching, preventing permanent damage to the patient’s vision.

TREATMENT OF A RETINAL TEAR

A retinal tear is treated with either a laser or cryotherapy procedure, or both, depending on the size and location of the tear. Either method of treatment is painless and is used to seal the retina to the wall of the eye. This prevents fluid from traveling through the retinal tear to potentially cause a detachment.

Repairing a tear in one part of the retina does not prevent a tear from developing in another area of the retina. Patients who have had a retinal tear should be especially careful about having their condition monitored. Everyone should have a regular eye examination to detect possible retinal tears at the earliest possible stage.