When retinal disease is suspected, a retinal consultation is necessary. The ophthalmologist will first take a family history, since genetic factors can play a role in such disorders. Other factors that may be causes of retinal disease are: aging, trauma to the eye, and other medical conditions, such as diabetes.
What are the symptoms of retinal disease?
The symptoms of retinal disease are typically blurred vision, the appearance of floaters, and/or loss of vision.
How are retinal diseases diagnosed?
In order to properly diagnose retinal disease, an ophthalmologist will perform a comprehensive eye exam and a variety of tests. The tests performed are designed to detect any abnormalities, as well as to identify the type of retinal disease present.
An accurate diagnosis helps determine the type of treatment required.
One or many of the following tests may be performed to diagnose retinal disease:
- Amsler Grid Test — detects flaws in the central vision by observing the way in lines on a grid appear to the patient
- Optical Coherance Tomograpy — records images of the retina to detect any abnormal changes to the retina or to monitor responses to treatment
- Fluorescein Angiogram — uses a special dye to identify abnormalities in blood vessels, such as leaking or occlusions
- Indocyanine Green Angiography — also uses a special dye that lights up when exposed to infrared light to capture images of the retinal blood vessels
- Ultrasound — uses high-frequency sound waves to evaluate the retina and surrounding structures.
- CT and MRI Scans — capture images to help detect tumors of the eye.
What are the types of retinal diseases that can be identified during a consultation?
The following types of retinal diseases may be diagnosed during a retinal consultation:
- Macular Degeneration
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Vein Occlusion
- Artery Occlusion
- Retinal Tears or Retinal Detachment
- Vitreous Floaters and Flashes
How are retinal diseases treated?
The following methods and procedures are used to treat a wide array of retinal diseases:
- Focal laser photocoagulation— used to seal or destroy leaking blood vessels in the retina
- Scatter laser photocoagulation— lasers are used to slow the growth of abnormal, leaking blood vessels
- Cryopexy— retinal tears of the external wall of the eye and retina are frozen causing reparative scar tissue to form
- Scleral buckling— a small piece of silicone material is sewn to the outside surface of the eye, or sclera, causing the sclera to indent and relieving pressure
- Vitrectomy— the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is suctioned out to repair tears and prevent or repair retinal detachment
- Injectable medications— medications are administered by intravitreal injection
- Retinal prosthesis — a retinal prosthetic can be implanted for individuals who suffer from severe vision loss or blindness
A retinal consultation can go a long way to detecting retinal disease and planning an appropriate course of treatment.