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What are retinal conditions?

The retina is the photosensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It is like the film of a camera. It's function is to convert visual images into electrical currents which pass to the visual part of the brain, so enabling vision. 

A retinal condition is any condition that affects the retina. 

Common retinal conditions include:

-Age Related Macular Degeneration

-Posterior vitreous detachment


-Diabetic Retinopathy

-Retinal Vein Occulsions

Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)

Age related macula degeneration is an age related degeneration of the macula. The macula is the central part of the retina and is responsible for one's central vision.  

There are two types of macula degeneration, Dry (non exudative) and Wet (exudative). Dry ARMD is so called because there are no new blood vessels at the back of the eye. Dry ARMD is characterised by the presence of retinal deposits called drusen and changes in the retinal pigmentation. Wet ARMD is characterised by the growth of new fragile blood vessels at the back of the eye. These can leak or bleed resulting in a loss of central vision.


There is no active treatment for dry ARMD. It usually doesn't result in significant visual loss although advanced cases can cause central visual loss. There is no active treatment for dry ARMD although there are some interesting potential developments including using a laser called 2RT.


If one has dry ARMD one can reduce the risk of it progressing to wet ARMD by not smoking, avoiding bright light by wearing sunglasses and by eating a diet rich in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel and also dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. It is also advisable to supplement one's diet by taking nutritional capsules, such as Macushield Gold, which have been demonstrated to reduce the progression of dry ARMD to wet ARMD.


One should check the one's central vision in each eye at least once a week if you have dry ARMD. If there is a sudden loss of central vision or distortion one needs to be seen within a few days.


If one is suspected of having wet ARMD it can be investigated by performing a special scan of the macula called an OCT scanner. It is also often necessary to perform a test called Fundus Fluoroscein Angiography which highlights the presence of new macula blood vessels.


Wet ARMD usually causes a sudden loss of central vision. Wet ARMD can be treated with injections of Lucentis, Eyelea or Avastin into the back of the eye. 

If you are concerned that you might have dry or wet ARMD please contact my secretary for a macula assessment. 

The vitreous is the jelly structure between the lens and the retina. As part of the normal ageing process the vitreous jelly breaks down into a liquid with remnants of the jelly floating around. The remnants of the jelly often give the impression of floaters or a cobweb appearance in the vision. The vitreous can then come away from the retina at the back of the eye in a process called Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD).


As the vitreous pulls away from the retina it stimulates the cells in the retina resulting in the appearance of flashing lights. Usually the vitreous pulls away from the retina with no damage being caused. If the vitreous is too firmly attached to the retina it can cause retinal tears to develop which, if not treated, can lead to a retinal detachment. Retinal tears are treated by laser to reduce the risk of them developing into retinal detachments. 

If you are concerned that you have developed floaters or flashing lights please contact my secretary for a full review of your vitreous and retina. If needs be I can perform Laser Retinopexy to reduce the risk of a retinal detachment developing. I am also able to perform Laser Floater Removal if you have troublesome floaters.       

Posterior vitreous detachment-

'Floaters and flashes' 

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is usually seen in people who have been diabetic for at least 10 years. It can affect the peripheral retina with the development of new blood vessels which can potentially bleed. These can be treated by laser.


Diabetic eye disease can also affect the central retina or macula by causing swelling which can reduce the central vision. This can be treated by laser or by injections into the back of your eye of a slow release steroid (Ozurdex) or Lucentis and Avastin.


If you are diabetic and would like a full assessment of your eyes then please contact my secretary. 

Branch and central retinal vein occlusions can lead to rapid painless loss of vision. Sometimes new blood vessels can develop. If new blood vessels develop laser surgery can be performed to remove the new blood vessels.


Sometimes swelling develops at the back of the eye called Cystoid Macula Oedema (CMO). CMO can be treated by injection of Ozurdex or Avastin and Lucentis. If you are concerned about the possibility of retinal vein occlusions I can offer a full assessment and treatment if indicated. 

Retinal Vein Occlusions

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