Retina Care Services
Flashes and Floaters
Floaters are often seen when particles of tissue and cells move within the clear jelly-like fluid of the eye called the vitreous. Patients complain of seeing spots, circles, lines and cobwebs. These are more noticeable in brighter lighting.
Flashes in the vision are caused by pressure or pulling on the retina, the bundle of nerves in the back of the eye, where images are transmitted to the brain. Patients complain of flashing lights or lightning streaks. Although most flashes and floaters are merely a part of the aging process as the vitreous shrinks and pulls away from the retina, it could be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment. Patients experiencing floaters and flashes should contact their doctor immediately so an examination can be performed.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
The macula is a part of the retina in the back of the eye that ensures that our central vision is clear and sharp. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when the arteries that nourish the retina harden. Deprived of nutrients, the retinal tissues begin to weaken and die, causing vision loss. Patients may experience anything from a blurry, gray or distorted area to a blind spot in the center of vision.
AMD is the number-one cause of vision loss in the U.S. Macular degeneration doesn’t cause total blindness because it doesn’t affect the peripheral vision. Possible risk factors include genetics, age, diet, smoking and sunlight exposure. Regular eye exams are highly recommended to detect macular degeneration early and prevent permanent vision loss.
Symptoms of macular degeneration include:
- A gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
- A gradual loss of color vision
- Distorted or blurry vision
- A dark or empty area in the center of vision
There are two kinds of AMD: wet (neovascular/exudative) and dry (non-neovascular). About 10-15% of people with AMD have the wet form. "Neovascular" means "new vessels." Accordingly, wet AMD occurs when new blood vessels grow into the retina as the eye attempts to compensate for the blocked arteries. These new vessels are very fragile, and often leak blood and fluid between the layers of the retina. Not only does this leakage distort vision, but when the blood dries, scar tissue forms on the retina as well. This creates a dark spot in the patient’s vision.
Dry AMD is much more common than wet AMD. Patients with this type of macular degeneration do not experience new vessel growth. Instead, symptoms include thinning of the retina, loss of retinal pigment and the formation of small, round particles inside the retina called drusen. Vision loss with dry AMD is slower and often less severe than with wet AMD.
Recent developments in ophthalmology allow doctors to treat many patients with early-stage AMD with the help of lasers and medication.
Intraocular injections are commonly used to treat retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusion. These diseases often cause blindness and should be treated as early and as thoroughly as possible. Dr. Montag uses FDA-approved medications such as Lucentis®, Avastin or JETREA® and EYLEA® that are injected directly into the eye to help patients maintain their baseline vision and keep vision loss at a minimum. The eye is numbed first with medication to prevent discomfort. Many patients often see an improvement in their vision from these injections as well.
Intraocular injections are especially effective in treating wet age-related macular degeneration, which, although less common than the dry form, accounts for more than 90% of blindness caused by the disease.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina (the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused). When these weak vessels leak, swell or develop thin branches, vision loss occurs. Laser surgery is the treatment of choice.
Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
Focal laser coagulation may be recommended for patients with clinically significant macular edema (CSME) – swelling of the central retina, called the macula. The laser coagulates, or dries up, the fluid that is causing the swelling. A similar procedure called scatter laser photocoagulation (also known as pan-retinal photocoagulation or PRP) destroys abnormal blood vessel growth in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). This procedure works best before the blood vessels have started to bleed. It can cause a loss of some side vision, but will save the rest of your vision from being lost.
At Century Eye Care we have an Argon Laser in the office to treat Retinal problems promptly, should you require treatment.