Retinal Detachment is a Unique Condition that Requires Special Care

Various conditions can affect visual clarity and that even pose a risk of vision loss. In most cases, this loss is a progressive worsening that occurs over years. With retinal detachment, vision loss can occur in a matter of hours. For this reason, retinal detachment is not just any eye condition, it is a medical emergency.

Retinal detachment is the separation of the retina, a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, from its normal position. This separation often occurs without any warning and can lead to vision loss without prompt care.

There are three types of retinal detachment. They include:

  • Rhegmatogenous, a type of retinal detachment that results from a tear in the retina. It is the most common type of retinal detachment and is related to natural aging. As the body gets older, the eyes change because the vitreous, a gel-like fluid in the center of the eyes, becomes waterier. This can cause a tear that then allows the watery vitreous fluid to leak through the retina and accumulate behind this piece of tissue. This accumulation pushes the retina away from the back of the eye.
  • Tractional retinal detachment is associated with diabetes. The retina is fed by tiny blood vessels and these vessels can be damaged by high blood sugar. Damaged blood vessels may bleed and form scar tissue that tugs on the retina, pulling it out of position.
  • Exudative retinal detachment may occur secondary to an eye injury, tumor, inflammation, or age-related macular degeneration. In this instance, detachment is caused by fluid build-up behind the retina that is not associated with a retinal tear or scar tissue.

Recognizing the Signs of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment often occurs suddenly. Due to the urgency of the situation, it is important to know how to identify the signs of this problem. Symptoms of retinal detachment include:

  • A sudden influx of new eye floaters, dark spots that move across vision.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Flashes of light in vision. This can occur when blinking or when looking at objects.
  • Darkening vision, like a curtain being drawn.

With prompt, proper care, retinal detachment can be treated and vision preserved. If you experience the signs of this condition, contact an ophthalmologist immediately or go to your nearest emergency room. If you have questions about retinal detachment, contact VitreoRetinal Surgery, PLLC at  (800) VRS-2500. We have several locations in Minnesota to serve you.

What is Retinal Laser Photocoagulation?

Most people are only vaguely familiar with the various tests and treatments that may be performed on the eyes. For many, nothing more than an annual vision exam takes place until they encounter a problem such as one of the various eye diseases. In our Minnesota offices, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions that affect the retina. Retinal laser photocoagulation is a technique that may be advisable in several scenarios.

Retinal laser photocoagulation is a procedure that is performed in the office using a local anesthetic to numb the eyes. The laser device emits light that gets absorbed into a local area of ocular tissue, where it causes the formation of scar tissue. The scar tissue can seal a retinal tear to keep the retina from detaching. The technique can also destroy or seal leaking blood vessels to preserve sight and protect the integrity of the retina. In this instance, photocoagulation may also slow the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye.

Some of the common conditions for which retinal laser photocoagulation may be used include retinal tears, macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion. The benefit of undergoing this procedure is that the risk of further vision loss is decreased.

What Is Retinal Photocoagulation Like?

We understand that the necessity for any eye procedure can feel unnerving. Retinal procedures are performed after the eye has been numbed with eye drops or another type of local anesthesia. Eye drops to dilate the pupil are also administered. Because dilation takes time to wear off, patients need to have a loved one bring them to their appointment and drive them home. Once the procedure begins, it is typically over within 15 to 20 minutes. A contact lens may be inserted over the front of the eye. This can help focus the laser. The doctor directs the point of light from the laser to targeted areas. Here, tissue sustains minor burns; not enough to affect vision but enough stimulate the formation of necessary scar tissue.

During the procedure, slight pinprick sensations may be felt as laser light touches tissue at the back of the eye. Bright flashes of light may also be noticed. Because only local anesthesia is used, patients can talk with their doctor throughout their procedure and let them know if they become uncomfortable.

After retinal laser photocoagulation, vision will be slightly blurry and the eyes will be extra sensitive until the pupils return to normal. The treated eye may feel mildly sore for a few days. For a short time, certain activities may need to be avoided, such as strenuous exercise. Thorough post-treatment care instructions are provided to facilitate optimal healing.

We proudly provide retinal care to patients in areas including St. Paul, Duluth, Minneapolis, Oakdale, and more. To locate a retina specialist near you, call (800) VRS-2500.

Retinal Health is an Important Aspect of Long-Term Wellness

What is the Retina?

When we think of our eyes, we may know there are multiple working parts. There is the lens that takes in light, and the cornea, through which light travels on its way to the back of the eye. It is here, at the back of the eye, where the retina is positioned. This thin layer of tissue has numerous light-sensitive cells that transmit light as neural signals. These signals pass through the optic nerve to the brain, where visual recognition is formed. Both the optic nerve and the retina are outgrowths of the brain. Both are vital to the quality of our vision.

How the Retina Affects Vision

There are two kinds of cells on the retina: cones and rods. These cells are called photoreceptors and each work in a specific way to formulate visual images:
•Cones are cells that live in the macula, the central part of the retina. Cones are cells that detect color and detail. Within the macula, cones facilitate functions including reading and writing, typing and texting, and recognizing small details of appearance in an object or person.
•Rods are cells situated along the outer border of the retina. These photoreceptors are involved in managing vision at night and in areas where lighting is poor.

Signs of Retinal Problems

There are a few ways in which the retina may be affected, from a tear to diabetic retinopathy to detachment. Symptoms include:
•Persistent blurry vision.
•Flashes of light in one or both eyes. This may occur upon blinking.
•Sudden onset of dark spots across the field of vision (floaters).
•Progressive reduction in peripheral vision. This may appear as a dark shadow at the outer field of vision.

Signs of retinal problems may not become obvious until substantial damage has occurred. It is important to obtain routine dilated eye exams from an ophthalmologist, especially if you have diabetes.

Treating Retinal Damage

Sudden signs of visual disturbance need to be examined right away. If you are experiencing sudden floaters or flashes, obtain immediate medical attention. With prompt care, retinal tears and detachment can be repaired and vision preserved.

There are several ways in which retinal conditions may be treated. A board-certified retinal specialist can be expected to recommend treatment based on the type and severity of the problem. In some cases, a laser device can seal the borders of a retinal tear. Tears can also be “frozen” (cryotherapy). If the retina has detached, it may be repaired with a scleral buckle or gas bubble to hold the proper position.

The team at Vitreo Retinal Surgery, PA has many years of experience diagnosing and treating retinal conditions. To contact a Minnesota office close to you, call (800) VRS-2500.

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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.

 

 

Causes of Retinal Detachment

The retina is a structure that sits at the back of the eye. The layers of cells that make up the retina are ultra-thin and sensitive to light. This light sensitivity is what allows the retina to record the various wavelengths that enter the eye and use the optic nerve to send electrical signals to the brain. The signals transmitted through the optic nerve are translated into visual images. This is the process of sight. It is a process that directly involves the retina and one that indicates just how crucial it is to keep this part of the eye healthy and functional.

Retinal detachment is a relatively rare event that occurs when the retinal membrane loosens from its foundation on the back of the eye. Here, we discuss the symptoms, causes, and contributing factors of a detached retina.

Symptoms of Retinal Detachment

Contrary to what one may expect, a detached retina is not a painful event. Because there is no discomfort to warn of detachment, it is vital to recognize other symptoms. As the retina comes loose from the back of the eye, flashes of light, floaters, specks, and spots may suddenly appear in the field of vision. Shadowing and blurriness may also occur. Any one of these symptoms warrants prompt medical attention.

Retinal Detachment Causes

Cases of retinal detachment usually result from one of three common underlying problems.

  • Tractional detachment occurs when scar tissue on the retinal surface creates a pulling effect that loosens the retina from the wall of the eye.
  • Exudative detachment is a condition in which the retina itself is in good condition, but fluid has built up beneath it as a result of inflammation or injury.
  • Rhegmatogenous detachment occurs when fluid builds up beneath the retina due to a hole or tear in its structure.

Contributing Factors in Retinal Detachment

There are no telltale indicators that any person will suffer retinal detachment. However, specific contributing factors have been noted for increasing risk. When more than one contributing factor is present, routine retinal evaluation becomes even more critical to long-term health and wellness. People with more than one of the following may also want to have a plan in place to obtain prompt emergency services from a retinal specialist.

  • Over 50 years of age.
  • A family history of retinal detachment.
  • Previous retinal detachment.
  • Previous eye surgery.
  • Severe eye or head injury.
  • Advanced diabetes.
  • Extreme nearsightedness.

What to Do About Retinal Detachment

A detached retina can be repaired so long as it remains somewhat intact. This is why immediate medical care is necessary in the event of sudden-onset symptoms. If the retina detaches completely, the thin tissue becomes non-viable and permanent blindness will occur in that eye.

Schedule a Consultation

We are proud to serve patients in areas including Blaine, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Edina, and more. To reach an office near you, contact us at (800) VRS-2500.

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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.

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Why You May Need to See a Retinal Specialist

Retinal Detachment St. Paul MNEye 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.

We proudly serve patients from areas including Minnesota, St. Paul, and Edina. For a full list of our locations and services, call our office at (800) VRS-2500.

Retinal Tears and Detachment: What We Can Learn Through Experience

Retinal Detachment St. Paul, MNWhile we rely on proper ocular function for eyesight, very few people become well acquainted with the structures involved in the transportation of light from the front to the back of the eye. In most cases, there is no reason to learn about the intricate nature of the eyeball itself. When a degree of familiarity does come into play is when something goes wrong. Fortunately, if and when that point comes, you can rely on the training and experience of our team of retinal specialists.

Vitreo Retinal Surgery proudly serves patients from areas including Plymouth, St. Paul, Minnesota, Edina, and more. Here, we want to discuss how retinal tears and detachment are related, and when you need to schedule a retinal exam with us.

Important Ocular Structure

The retina sits at the back of the eye and appears as a delicate lining of tissue. A cavity is positioned just in front of the retina and is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that contains aqueous fluid, collagen fibrils, and macromolecules. As we age, the semi-stable consistency of the vitreous morphs into a water-like fluid. This transition is believed to occur in all adults at some point. As it does, the risk for separation, referred to as posterior vitreous separation, increases.

About Retinal Tears

The brain naturally wants to connect the dots between cause and effect. Regarding retinal detachment, there is more than one factor to consider. In some cases, we see retinal tears occur after a direct eye injury. However, posterior vitreous separation, as benign as it is on its own, may be the catalyst for a tear in retinal tissue if the pull on this fragile lining becomes too great. Bottom line, trauma does not have to occur to experience a retinal tear.

About Retinal Detachment

Most cases of retinal detachment are preceded by a retinal tear. Therefore, it is ideal to obtain professional care from a retinal specialist if you experience the sudden onset of floaters or flashes, or if your vision becomes darkened in general. Detachment occurs when fluid from the eye seeps through the tear in the lining, creating space between the retina and the wall of the back of the eye. Retinal detachment presents the risk of vision loss and needs to be treated quickly to reduce this risk.

Treating Retinal Tears and Detachment

Treatment for retinal tears and detachment may begin with the evaluation of posterior vitreous separation. Observing the back of the eye, we can determine if a tear has occurred, and how best to treat that condition. Tears are often treated with laser, but may also be treated with cryotherapy. Retinal detachment often requires surgery but may involve an in-office procedure if the extent of separation is not severe.

There is no need for retinal detachment to be a medical emergency. When floaters and flashes are evaluated early, there is a greater chance for conservative treatment.

For assistance with retinal conditions and treatments, call (800) VRS-2500.

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

What Floaters and Flashes have to do with Retinal Health

What Floaters and Flashes have to do with Retinal Health | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | Minneapolis MNAny instances of abnormal apparitions in vision, such as glares and halos around lights, blurred vision, flashes, and floaters can cause alarm. The term “floaters” is often used to describe visions of cobwebs, threads, or specks across the field of vision. Flashes may occur when blinking, or randomly across the visual field. In most cases, floaters and flashes are harmless. However, it is important to know what these visual disturbances could mean, and when floaters and flashes should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.

What Floaters May Indicate

Floaters occur when a small protein deposit or cluster of cells lodges in the vitreous humor, the egg-like gel that is located at the rear of the eyeball. This soft structure is connected to the retina. A floater is a shadow that is cast onto the retina from the accumulation within the vitreous humor. Because the vitreous humor becomes somewhat stringy as we age, most people notice a higher prevalence of floaters sometime after the age of 60. Sometimes, the frequency of floaters may inhibit reading or other concentrated tasks but, in most cases, that is the end of it.

Noticing the Signs of Trouble

When floaters begin to occur randomly, and with great frequency, there is a reason to contact an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive exam. This is because, under certain circumstances, floaters may indicate a substantial change in the integrity of the retina. If the shrinking vitreous humor tugs enough on the retina, detachment may occur. This event, referred to as a posterior vitreous detachment, may be a threat to vision.

There is no pain involved in this tearing away, which is why it is important to recognize signs such as:

  • Rapid onset of flashes and floaters
  • Gradual decrease in vision from one side (darkening like closing curtains)
  • Quickly declining central vision

Warning signs of full retinal detachment should be assessed right away. Retinal tears, the onset of detachment, may be repaired with appropriate laser surgery.

Schedule a Consultation

Vitreo Retinal Surgery, PA has several locations in Minnesota to serve you. To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of retinal detachment or to schedule a consultation, please call (800) VRS-2500.