What is the Retina?

The retina is a light-sensitive nerve tissue at the back of the eye. The retina converts the light rays into electrical impulses that travel along the optic nerve to a part of the brain called the visual cortex. The brain then combines images sent from both eyes to interpret them as a single, three-dimensional image. This allows us to perceive depth and distance. Without a properly functioning retina, the eye cannot communicate with the brain.

. retina

Retina deseases:

  • Diabetic retinopathy  Go >>
  • Macular edema  Go >>
  • Retinal detachment  Go >>
  • Age-related macular degeneration  Go >>

Procedures and treatments:

What is the Diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that affects people with diabetes. It occurs as a result of high blood glucose, or sugar, that people with diabetes often have over a prolonged period of time. Too much blood glucose can destroy the blood vessels in the back of the eye, preventing the retina from receiving the proper amount of nutrients it needs to maintain vision.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina. In the early stages of the disease, (called non-proliferative retinopathy), these blood vessels leak fluid and distort sight. In the more advanced stage, (called proliferative retinopathy), fragile new blood vessels grow around the retina and in the vitreous humor (a clear substance that fills the eye). If left untreated, these blood vessels may bleed and cloud vision, or may scar and detach the retina.

Anyone with diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2) is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. The factors that affect risk include the type of diabetes a person has, how often his or her blood glucose fluctuates, how well controlled the sugar level is, and how long a person has had diabetes.

Anyone with diabetes (type 1 or type 2) is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy

What happens if diabetic retinopathy is not treated?

Scar tissue that forms on the back of the retina as a result of a contraction of the new blood vessels can cause the retina to pull away from the back of the eye. This is called a retinal detachment. Retinal detachment can cause permanent blindness if left untreated.

What is macular edema?

Diabetic retinopathy can also cause macular edema. The macula is the inner part of the retina that allows for detail to be seen. When fluid from blood vessels leaks into the macula, it can swell and make vision blurry.

What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

There are often no early signs of diabetic retinopathy, and sight may not be affected until the condition is severe. Sometimes the only signs that something is wrong are the loss of central vision when reading or driving, loss of the ability to see color, and blurred vision.

How is diabetic retinopathy diagnosed?

An eye doctor (ophthalmologist) can detect diabetic retinopathy after conducting a thorough eye exam. The exam will likely include pupil dilation so that the doctor can look for any changes in blood vessels, new blood vessel growth, swelling of the retina, and retinal detachment.

How is diabetic retinopathy treated?

In most cases, laser surgery can prevent significant vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy.

A procedure called laser photocoagulation can be performed to seal or destroy growing or leaking blood vessels in the retina. Although the procedure is not painful, laser surgery may lower a person’s night vision and ability to see color.

In some people with diabetic retinopathy, the blood that leaks from blood vessels in the retina may also leak into the vitreous humor, clouding vision. A surgical procedure called a vitrectomy can be used to remove the blood that has leaked into this part of the eye. If diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed in time, almost 90% of people with late-stage, or proliferative retinopathy can be saved from blindness.

What is a vitrectomy?

A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed to remove the clouded vitreous gel in the center of the eye. The gel is replaced with a solution that is similar to the makeup of healthy, clear vitreous matter. This diabetic treatment has a very high success rate for improving vision.

Vitrectomy surgery may also be used to remove scar tissue remaining as a result of retinal detachment. Once the scar tissue is no longer pulling on the retina, the retina will usually settle back into place and flatten out, which will improve vision.


Can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?

You can help protect your sight by having your eyes checked at least once a year by an ophthalmologist.
You can also help slow down the development of diabetic retinopathy by keeping your blood glucose and blood pressure in check.

When should I call the doctor?

  • Have black spots in your vision.

  • See flashes of light.

  • Have “holes” in your vision.

  • Have persistent blurred vision.

What is Retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment describes an emergency situation in which a critical layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nourishment.
Retinal detachment leaves the retinal cells lacking oxygen. The longer retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater your risk of permanent vision loss in the affected eye.

What are the symptoms?

  • Flashes of light

  • Showering effect of floaters (small flecks or threads) in the visual field

  • Darkening of the peripheral visual field

  • There is no pain associated with retinal detachment, but if you experience any of the symptoms listed above, contact your eye doctor immediately.

How is retinal detachment treated?

There are a number of approaches to treating a detached retina. These include:


Laser (thermal) or freezing (Cryopexy).

Both of these approaches can repair a retinal tear if it is diagnosed early enough.

Pneumatic retinopexy

This procedure can be used if the tear is small and easy to close. A small gas bubble is injected into the vitreous where it then rises and presses against the retina, closing the tear. A laser or cryopexy can then be used to seal the tear. This procedure is 85 percent successful.

Scleral buckle

This procedure involves placing a silicone band (buckle) around the eye to hold the retina in place. This band is not visible and remains permanently attached. Thermal treatment might then be necessary to close the tear. This procedure is effective as much as 95 percent of the time.


This procedure is used for large tears. During a vitrectomy the vitreous is removed from the eye and replaced with a saline solution. Its success rate is similar to that of the scleral buckle.

What is age-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50 in the United States. This eye disease affects the macula, the central part of the light-sensing nerve tissue in the eye known as the retina. The macula provides the sharp, straight-ahead vision that allows you to see small detail, read fine print, recognize faces and see street signs.

What causes AMD?

There are two types of AMD – the dry (atrophic) form and the wet (exudative) form. The dry form of AMD affects about 90 percent of AMD patients and usually begins with the formation of tiny yellow deposits called drusen in the macula. Drusen usually do not cause serious loss of vision, but can cause distortion of vision. However, for reasons that are not yet understood, sometimes drusen will cause the macula to thin and break down, slowly leading to vision loss.
The wet form of age-related macular degeneration occurs in about 10 percent of patients. It is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula that can leak fluid and blood. Wet AMD typically causes significant vision loss. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision problems in the affected eye and can progress very rapidly, causing permanent central vision loss.
The exact cause of AMD is not known. AMD may be hereditary. If someone in your family has or had AMD, you may be at higher risk for developing the disease.

What are the symptoms of AMD?

A primary symptom of AMD is a distortion in vision that makes straight lines appear wavy or irregular. Patients also may notice blurriness and dimming of vision, a dark or blank spot in the center of their vision, or that the size or color of something looks different when viewed through different eyes. dmre

¿Cómo se diagnostica la DMRE?

Se realiza un examen oftalmológico completo para diagnosticar la DMRE. Se puede solicitar un estudio de angiografía con fluoresceína o verde indocianina (ambos medios de contraste que ayudan a lograr una mejor visualización), para la detección de vasos sanguíneos anormales dentro o por debajo de la retina. Durante cualquiera de estos procedimientos el medio de contraste se inyecta por el brazo y se obtienen fotografías digitales por una cámara especial para determinar el movimiento del tinte a través de las estructuras vasculares del ojo. Estas fotografías son una importante herramienta para la elección del tratamiento.

What treatments are available for AMD?

Although there currently is no medical or surgical treatment for the dry form of AMD, eyesight may be helped with low-vision aids. One recent study found that taking high levels of antioxidants do can reduce some patients’ chances of developing AMD.
Because the dry form of AMD can change into the wet form, it is very important for patients to monitor their eyesight carefully and see their ophthalmologist on a regular basis.
For patients with the wet form of AMD, early diagnosis and treatment are critical to save as much vision as possible. Early diagnosis can help expand treatment options and increase the likelihood of preserving eyesight.
Several options are available to treat the wet form of AMD, but not all are appropriate or successful for all patients. These treatments include:
Laser therapy – the use of high-energy lights to destroy actively growing abnormal blood vessels.
Anti-angiogenesis medications – There are several drugs that prevent the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Antiangiogenic therapy inhibits the growth of new vessels. Because new blood vessels growth plays a critical role in many disease conditions, angiogenesis inhibition is a common denominator approach to treating these diseases.

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