Every area of medicine has its subspecialties, and the same goes for the field of ophthalmology. While eye doctors choose to practice general ophthalmology, they may also specialise in a particular part of the eye and conditions affecting it. One such specialised eye doctor is a retina specialist.
What is the Retina of the Eye?
The retina is a thin layer of nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye. The function of the retina is to convert light into neural signals which then goes through the optic nerve to reach the brain and help in visual recognition. The watery gel-like substance that fills the cavity between the lens and retina is called the vitreous.
Who Is a Retina Specialist?
A retina eye specialist diagnoses and treats retinal and vitreous problems and diseases. He/she receives prior ophthalmological training and has additional training and expertise in the vitreoretinal sub-speciality – sometimes also called vitreoretinal medicine. They focus on treating serious retinal problems or diseases and problems in the vitreous gel.
What Do Retina Specialists Do?
Retina specialists are sub-specialised in diseases and surgery of the retina and the vitreous body of the eye. Using technical equipment and testing, they conduct detailed eye examinations. They focus their work on the retina. They may work in clinics or hospitals and cater to the problems and symptoms of both children and adults.
Those who visit retina specialists are often asked about any medical history of visual problems as well as hereditary eye diseases. Then, their eye pressure is measured. This could be followed by digital retinal imaging with the use of a high-resolution imaging system, to take pictures of the inside of the eye. Retinal scanning devices scan the unique patterns of a person’s retina.
Some common conditions and problems that retina specialists treat are:
- Retinal Vein occlusion: It occurs most commonly due to hypertension and diabetes, and results in decreased vision.
- Diabetic Retinopathy: Depending on the duration of diabetes and control status, it can lead to chronic damage to blood vessels of the retina. Once damaged they may have an accumulation of fluid, loss of central vision or they can have bleeding inside the eye or retinal detachment leading to a sudden loss of vision. Once the condition goes to advanced-stage treatment is difficult.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration: This is the most common cause of decreased central vision among the aged. The patient won’t be able to recognise faces and will have difficulty in reading that worsens gradually. It is caused by the development of new blood vessels under the retina.
- Central Serous Chorioretinopathy: Most commonly due to stress and steroid usage it can lead to a decrease in central vision.
- Severe Eye Trauma: When damage is caused to the eye by a direct blow, it could cause symptoms of eye trauma such as pain, trouble in seeing, blood in the eye, retinal tear etc.
- Peripheral retinal degenerations: Myopic patients may have peripheral retinal changes like lattice degeneration which can lead to retina detachment and loss of vision.
- Retinal Tear or Detachment: Symptoms of a retina tear include sudden black spots or floaters in vision, blurred vision, flashes of light, a gradual decrease in peripheral vision, etc. If untreated it can lead to a Retinal Detachment. Retinal detachment is an emergency situation where the retina gets detached from the underlying layer of blood vessels providing it with oxygen and vital nutrients, causing serious trouble in vision.
- Cancer in the Retina: An eye cancer that begins in the retina, also known as Retinoblastoma. It is a rare form of cancer seen in children but develops rapidly, causing pain and loss of vision in the affected area. It most commonly affects children but can affect adults too, impacting one or both the eyes.
- Premature Retina: When a child has premature birth it may lead to improper development of retinal vessels and can cause loss of vision.
Prasad Netralaya — Mangalore and Udupi’s most trusted Eye Care Hospital — is where you can avail a consultation to properly diagnose and treat any retinal problems. Our retina specialists are skilled and qualified in retinal conditions management and surgical correction of retinal conditions, along with treating complex retinal problems. Call us at +91 9513596565 or book an appointment if you wish to visit in person.