Health & Fitness

What are the types of retinal diseases?   

A number of retinal diseases are diagnosed by Best Eye Specialist in Karachi every year. These diseases can affect any part of the neurosensory layer of the eye and impact vision. Depending on the vision and the underlying disorder, treatment regimen is based on either vision restoration or slowing progression. Read on to know more about retinal diseases:

What are the types of retinal diseases?

There are several types of retinal diseases, including:

  • Retinal detachment: separation of the retinal layer from the supporting tissue is called retinal detachment. This commonly results from passage of fluid through a retinal tear under the retina, causing it to lift away from the underlying layers. Consequently, there is blurring of vision, floaters and flashes of light in the vision.   
  • Retinal tear: pulling and tugging of the retina by the vitreous causes tractional detachment of the retina. These changes in the vitreous are commonly due to age-related contraction of the vitreous. These too cause sudden onset of flashes and floaters in the vision.
  • Epiretinal membrane: ERM is a membrane giving the appearance of crinkled paper lying on the retina. This delicate tissue-looking scar pulls on the retina so there is distortion of the vision causing objects to appear crooked and blurred.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: long-term uncontrolled diabetes can cause many changes in the retina, including formation of new blood vessels and subsequent edema and hemorrhages due to leaky vessels. This edema can cause blurring of vision and further neovascularization.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa: this inherited disorder causes loss of night and peripheral vision in the beginning, with ultimate blindness as the disease progresses. Bony spicules are found on the retina on clinical examination.
  • Macular degeneration: the center of the retina is called macula. If there is degeneration of this region of the retina, it causes blurring of central vision, which can worsen to cause blind spot in the center. Macular degeneration can be dry or wet, with the former appearing first.
  • Macular hole: this is a small defect in the central layer of the macula due to abnormal traction on the retina by the vitreous. Alternatively, this hole can occur subsequent to trauma, or eye injury.

What are the symptoms of retinal diseases?

The symptoms of retinal disease include:

  • Defective peripheral vision
  • Floaters, specks and cobwebs in the vision
  • Blurring of vision with distorted or crooked lines
  • Complete loss of vision 

Who is at risk of retinal diseases?

The risk factors associated with retinal diseases include:

  • Trauma to the eye
  • Aging
  • Oxidative stressors to the eyes such as cigarette smoke
  • Obesity
  • Systemic diseases like diabetes—especially long-term and uncontrolled diabetes
  • Family history of retinal illnesses

How are retinal diseases diagnosed?

To know the extent of retinal disease, the following investigations are carried out:

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT): this is the investigation in which light rays are used to construct image of the retinal layers. Precise images of the epiretinal membranes, macular edema and macular holes can be obtained with this investigation. In addition to diagnosis, OCT helps to measure response to treatment and progression of disease.
  • Amsler grid test: an Amsler grid is used to test the central vision. In the presence of macular disease, the central lines of the grid appear distorted or faded. Many individuals with macular degeneration are given the grid test to monitor their condition at home.
  • Fluorescein angiography (FA): a dye is used to look clearly at the blood vessels to help identify leaky vessels, or abnormal vessels.
  • Fundus autofluorescence (FAF): an FAF determines the progression of disease by highlighting the retinal pigment called lipofuscin. Lipofuscin increases in retinal dysfunction and damage.
  • B-scan ultrasound: high-frequency sound waves called ultrasound help to view the retina and the vitreous.
  • Indocyanine green angiography: a dye is used to show superficial and deeper retinal blood vessels when exposed to infrared rays.
  • CT and MRI: these are used to evaluate the eyes in case of injuries and tumors.

What are the treatment options for retinal diseases?

Treatment options by experts at Kulsum International Hospital include laser therapy, cryotherapy, retinal prosthesis, anti-VEGF intravitreal injections, laser photocoagulation, vitrectomy and scleral buckling to treat conditions of the retina.

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