Flashers and Floaters
Flashes in vision are caused by pressure on the retina, the bundle of nerves in the back of the eye where images are detected and transmitted to the brain. Patients complain of flashing lights or lightning streaks.
Floaters are often seen when fibers move within the vitreous humor, the gelatinous substance made of water and protein fibers that fills the eye. Patients complain of small specks or dots that can be seen against clear backgrounds. Serious vision loss can occur if the retina or vitreous detach from the eye wall.
We can treat many floaters with laser. This is done as an outpatient procedure. Yag laser is used to vaporize the floater and makes it smaller or disappear.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
AMD is the number-one cause of vision loss in the U.S. The macula is a part of the retina in the back of the eye that ensures that our central vision is clear and sharp. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when the arteries that nourish the retina harden.
Deprived of nutrients, the retinal tissues begin to weaken and die, causing vision loss. Patients may experience anything from a blurry, gray or distorted area to a blind spot in the center of vision. Recent developments include genetic testing to determine your risk of developing severe AMD. Severe AMD can be treated with medications injected into the eye.
Epiretinal Membrance Surgery
An epiretinal membrane, also known as a macular pucker, is a thin layer of scar tissue that forms over the macula, the area of the retina that gives us clear central vision. When the scar tissue contracts, the retina wrinkles, or puckers, causing blurry or distorted central vision. Patients with an epiretinal membrane may experience difficulty seeing fine details and reading small print, and may also see straight lines appearing as wavy. There may also be a gray area or blind spot in the center of your vision. Most cases of epiretinal membranes do not progress and do not require treatment. Noninvasive treatments such as eye drops or medications will not improve vision that is distorted from an epiretinal membrane. If vision distortion is severe enough, a vitrectomy may be performed to repair this condition.
Diabetic Retinopathy Surgery and Care
Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness, such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. These and other serious conditions often develop without vision loss or pain, so significant damage may be done to the eyes by the time the patient notices any symptoms. For this reason it is very important for diabetic patients to have their eyes examined once a year. Diagnosing and treating eye disease early can prevent vision loss. It is also important to maintain a steady blood-sugar level, take prescribed medications, follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly and avoid smoking.
Intraocular injections are commonly used to treat retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusion. These diseases often cause blindness and should be treated as early and as thoroughly as possible. FDA-approved medications such as Eylea, Lucentis, Avastin or Macugen are injected directly into the eye to help patients maintain their baseline vision and keep vision loss at a minimum. Many patients often see an improvement in their vision from these injections as well.
Macular Hole Surgery
The macula is a small spot in the center of the retina that focuses light at a sharp point and allows us to see objects in detail. This is especially useful for reading, driving and other everyday activities that require clear vision. A macular hole often develops as part of the natural aging process, when the vitreous gel thins and separates from the macula. This can pull on the macula and cause a hole to form. In its early stages, a macular hole may cause a small blurry or distorted area in the center of vision. Most macular holes can be successfully treated through vitrectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the vitreous gel and stop it from pulling on the retina.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a vision condition affecting nearly a third of people in the United States. The eye focuses properly on nearby objects, while distant objects appear blurry. This imbalance typically occurs either because the eye has an oblong shape (astigmatism) or the cornea is excessively curved, so that only some of the light entering the eye focuses on the retina. It is critical to have eye exams to look for retinal tears, retinal detachment and macular disease. These are all treatable conditions. Other procedures – refractive or laser surgery, or orthokeratology (non-invasive corrective contact lenses) – may also be helpful.
Retinal Detachment Surgery
Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition that occurs when the retina becomes separated from the wall of the eye and its supportive underlying tissue. Without prompt treatment, permanent vision loss may occur. Patients with retinal detachment may experience a blind spot, blurred vision or shadows forming in their peripheral vision. Other symptoms may include an increase in flashes and floaters. It is important to see your doctor at the first sign of symptoms in order to minimize the damage caused by this condition. Pneumatic retinopexy or laser photocoagulation are procedures that can preserve vision and may also allow lost vision to return in some patients. The sooner the retina is attached, the more effective treatment tends to be. If you are experiencing signs of retinal detachment, please call us immediately.
Retinal Tears Treatment
Located at the back of the eye, the retina is attached to the vitreous, the gel-like substance that makes up for most of the eye’s volume. Although the vitreous begins as a thick substance with a firm shape, the consistency of the gel changes and becomes thinner and more watery as we age. A change in the shape of the vitreous can cause it to pull away from the retina and leave a tear. A retinal tear leaves the retina unprotected and can allow fluid to travel between the retina and the wall, which may lead to retinal detachment. Although a retinal tear does not cause pain, patients may experience flashes or floaters in their field of vision, a reduction of vision, a shadow or curtain forming in the peripheral vision, or other vision changes. Early detection of a retinal tear can often prevent the retina from detaching through prompt treatment.
Retinal Vein Occlusion Treatment
Blood and nutrient circulation to and from the surface of the retina is mostly done through one vein and one artery. If these passages or any of the smaller branches connected to them are blocked, blood flow to the retina can become seriously disrupted. Blockage of one of these passages is known as occlusion, and can result in sudden vision loss. Although there is no cure for retinal vein occlusions, there are treatment options to improve the vision and minimize risk of recurrence.
Retinopathy of Prematurity
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a sight-threatening condition that affects the retinas of premature infants, as a result of incomplete development of the blood vessels within the eye. While retinal blood vessels usually finish developing by the time of birth, premature infants may be born before this occurs. Improperly developed blood vessels may be exposed to high levels of oxygen, which can in turn lead to abnormal blood vessel growth on the surface of the retina.
ROP is one of the most common causes of childhood visual loss, and occurs most often in infants who weigh less than three pounds or who were born before the 31st week of pregnancy. All premature infants should be screened for ROP, as the condition sometimes does not present itself until several weeks after birth. If diagnosed, frequent monitoring is required to determine if the condition will regress on its own or require treatment to reduce the risk of vision loss and other complications.
Vitreous Hemorrhage Treatment
The vitreous is the gel-like substance that makes up approximately two-thirds of the eye’s volume and is located in between the lens in the front of the eye and the retina in the back of the eye. In normal, healthy vitreous gel, there are no blood vessels, but diseases such as diabetic retinopathy can lead to the development of new blood vessels which can grow into the vitreous gel.
A vitreous hemorrhage occurs when one of these blood vessels ruptures and causes bleeding within the vitreous gel, causing visual symptoms. Patients with vitreous hemorrhage usually notice a sudden, significant increase in the number and size of floaters blocking their vision. Severe bleeding can also cause vision to appear blurry, cloudy or hazy. Treatment for a vitreous hemorrhage may include vitrectomy, cryotherapy, laser photocoagulation, or intravitreal injections.