At North Suburban Eye Associates, patients can expect friendly and professional service that caters to their needs. Our experienced team of eye specialists understands the necessity of thorough eye examinations that observe every part of the ocular structure, for each fills an important role in lifelong vision.
What is the retina?
The retina is a piece of tissue at the back of the eye. It is light-sensitive, transferring rays of light that pass through the front of the eye to the optic nerve. This is the pathway to the brain that results in vision. The retina is multi-layered. The outermost piece of tissue is made up of rods and cones that act as photoreceptors. Rods and cones transform light into electrical signals. At the center of the retina is the macula, which is responsible for central and detailed vision. As integral outgrowths of the developing brain, the optic nerve, and the retina are considered part of the central nervous system.
What does the retina do?
The retina covers approximately 65 percent of the back of the eye. It is connected to the optic nerve, a part of the brain that receives electrical signals from the retina and transfers them to the brain. The retina is the part of the eye that receives light and transforms it into the signals necessary for vision.
What are the retina diseases treated at North Suburban Eye?
We provide comprehensive care to patients experiencing retinal conditions. Two of the most commonly diagnosed problems include macular degeneration and detached retina.
Often referred to as an age-related condition, macular degeneration (AMD) affects more than 10 million Americans. This is the leading cause of vision loss in our country and, at present, is incurable. Proper treatment is a critical aspect of preserving eyesight.
Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the center of the retina, the macula. The macula focuses on central vision and influences our ability to recognize faces, read, drive, and see fine details in objects. There are two types of macular degeneration that may develop: dry and wet types.
Dry macular degeneration is atrophic, meaning that the macula is suffering atrophy. The majority of cases of AMD are dry. The deterioration of the macula seems to be caused by the growth of small yellowish or white deposits called drusen beneath the macula.
Wet macular degeneration occurs in only 10 to 15% of cases. However, this type of macular degeneration accounts for most cases of severe vision loss. This form of macular degeneration is referred to as wet because it involves the growth of abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid and blood into the back of the eye. The accumulation of fluid can cause the retina to lift and separate from its base, resulting in vision loss.
Retinal detachment is a serious problem that can result in vision loss as the retina pulls away from the tissue around it, depriving it of nutrients and oxygen. This is an emergency that requires prompt medical attention.
What are the retina treatments offered at North Suburban Eye?
Treatments for macular degeneration include:
- Anti-angiogenic medication. This is injected into the eye after the eye has been numbed with anesthetic drops. The medication prevents the growth of new abnormal blood vessels and also stops the leakage of blood and fluid from existing vessels.
- Laser therapy. In some cases, doctors may recommend treatment with a high-energy laser to destroy the abnormal blood vessels growing in the retina.
Treatments for retinal detachment include:
- Pneumatic retinopexy. This procedure stops the flow of fluid into the back of the retina by inserting an air or gas bubble into the vitreous cavity (the middle of the eye). The bubble presses the retina into place against the back wall of the eye, allowing fluid to absorb naturally over time. The bubble also absorbs on its own.
- Scleral buckling. This procedure relieves the pull on the retina by suturing a piece of silicone material to the sclera, the white of the eye. Buckling pushes the sclera toward the retina, creating appropriate pressure to seal a tear and prevent full detachment.
- Vitrectomy. The vitrectomy procedure drains the gel-like fluid that fills the center of the eye and replaces it with silicone oil, gas, or air. This replacement restores adequate pressure to secure the retina in place.
Schedule A Consultation
Retinal problems can be managed with early intervention. To protect your long-term vision, contact North Suburban Eye Associates, P.C. by calling 781-245-5200 to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists. Our practice serves Wakefield, Winchester, Waltham, Beverly, and the surrounding Boston area.