Retinal diseases include a large group of eye conditions, from retinal degeneration to inflammatory diseases. The most important thing to remember about retinal diseases is this: All retinal diseases can cause vision loss or blindness. Dr. Jeevan Mathura and Dr. Lindsay Smithen at Retina & Macular Disease Specialists have extensive experience diagnosing and treating the full range of retinal diseases. If you’d like more information, call their office at Arlington, Virginia, or book an appointment online for a comprehensive eye exam.
Most retinal diseases don’t have symptoms in their early stages. By the time you experience a symptom like vision loss, the disease has progressed, and damage may be irreversible. Any problem that affects your retina can lead to vision loss or blindness.
Your doctor at Retina & Macular Disease Specialists can detect physical changes in your eyes before you have symptoms. For this reason, routine eye examinations are essential to protect your eye health.
While there are numerous retinal diseases, many share common symptoms:
A few of the most common retinal conditions include:
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Deterioration of the macula, which is in the central part of the retina and is responsible for focusing central vision. As AMD progresses, damage to the macula affects your ability to read, drive, see details in objects, and recognize faces or colors.
High blood sugar damages blood vessels in the retina and causes the growth of abnormal blood vessels that leak into the retina. As fluids and pressure accumulate, the retina is permanently damaged.
Detachment occurs when your retina tears away from underlying tissues, often due to an eye injury, vitreous detachment, or advanced diabetic retinopathy. The retina can’t continue to work when it detaches from its supportive tissues, so you need quick treatment to prevent blindness.
Uveitis isn’t limited to the uvea — it’s a general term for a group of inflammatory diseases throughout the eye, including the retina. Uveitis may arise from diseases in the eye or inflammatory diseases affecting other parts of the body, such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and multiple sclerosis.
Retinal vein occlusions
Damage to blood vessels in the retina leads to vision changes from blurriness to blindness. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are common causes of retinal vein occlusions.
In addition to uveitis, your retina is susceptible to inflammation from numerous bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.
Retinal diseases are treated with therapies ranging from eye drops and eye injections for fighting inflammation and stopping leaking blood vessels, to eye surgery. Laser surgery and vitrectomy to evacuate then replace the vitreous are both successful for many retinal diseases.