About the Retina
An essential part of a comprehensive eye examination is a detailed examination of the retina through a dilated pupil. The retina is a delicate, intricate lining of the inside of the eye that contains the rods and cones, complex cells that receive light and connect to nerve cells that transmit the visual signals through the optic nerve to the brain to form visual images. The retina consists of many layers and is supplied by a complex system of arteries, veins, and tiny high-speed capillaries. Damage to these delicate structures from trauma, hereditary or age-related degeneration, medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, toxic medications, inflammation, and more can result in permanent visual loss if not detected and treated early.
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Examining the Retina
In-depth examination of the retina includes direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy and diagnostic imaging such as OCT (optical coherence tomography) and digital fundus photography.
Common conditions that Dr. Held will monitor include macular degeneration, epiretinal membranes, retinal vascular disease, diabetic retinopathy, and lattice degeneration.
The central focal point of the retina is the macula that contains sophisticated cells that allow you to see color and detail vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss in people over 60. A yearly comprehensive exam allows early diagnosis and treatment of retinal and macular disease.
Treating And Diagnosing Conditions Affecting the Retina
Patients between the ages of 55 and 65 will commonly experience symptoms of flashes and floaters. These symptoms could result from tears in the retina, bleeding into the vitreous gel of the eye from diabetic retinopathy, or even inflammation from a systemic disease. Patients who develop flashes and floaters should call the office for an urgent retinal examination.
A thorough examination of the retina includes a detailed examination of the optic nerve. The optic nerve transmits the information from the retina to the visual pathways in the brain. Damage to the optic nerves from diseases such as multiple sclerosis or abnormalities in the brain such as pituitary tumors and stroke can result in vision loss if not diagnosed and treated early.
Formal testing of the peripheral visual field is important when evaluating the optic nerves and neurologic disease as well as glaucoma.
Patients over 60 should have a yearly dilated examination of the retina.