Vitreoretinal diseases are our specialty. This term does not describe a single condition, but a group of eye disease that affects the retina at the back of the eye and the vitreous fluid around it. A vitreoretinal disease may occur secondary to diabetes or another health problem. Conversely, aging may be the primary risk factor for some people affected by vitreoretinal disease.
Examples of conditions categorized as vitreoretinal diseases include:
- Macular degeneration
- Retinal tear or detachment
- Macular hole
- Diabetic retinopathy
Understanding Vitreoretinal Diseases
The retina is the lining at the back of the eye. This lining transmits light to the brain via the optic nerve and helps the brain identify what we see. At the center of the retina is the macula, where light focuses to make vision sharp and clear. Between the retina and the lens at the front of the eye, space is filled with vitreous fluid, which is clear and gel-like in consistency.
Vitreoretinal diseases are conditions that affect any one of these structures. Because the retina and macula are integral to vision, a disease in this part of the eye can temporarily or permanently diminish vision. Therefore, any symptoms related to vitreoretinal disease need to be evaluated by a retinal specialist as quickly as possible. Some retinal conditions may be detected during routine eye exams before symptoms become apparent. This is advantageous because it allows us the best possible opportunity to slow or stop the disease process.
Symptoms of vitreoretinal disease include:
- Night blindness.
- Floaters in the visual field, especially the sudden onset of spots.
- Dimming in central or peripheral vision.
- Flashes of light.
- Severe eye pain.
- Sudden vision loss.
- Distortion of printed words when reading.
- Distortion in central vision, such as wavy lines.
- Extreme light sensitivity.
Treating Vitreoretinal Disease
Vitreoretinal conditions can be severe and may cause vision loss. In many cases, treatment is available to preserve vision and slow the progression of vision deterioration. Treatment methods are developed based on the type of retinal damage and the severity of the condition. In some cases, medication may be administered to support visual function. Sometimes, as in the case of retinal detachment, a minor surgical procedure may be necessary.