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The retina is the thin tissue in the back part of your eye that is responsible for sensing light and transmitting images to the brain. Retinal disorders affect vision.

Symptoms

Many retinal diseases share common symptoms and treatments, but each has unique characteristics. The goal of retinal disease treatments is to stop or slow disease progression and preserve, improve or restore vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, please make an appointment:

  • Flashing lights
  • Floaters/spots/strands
  • Shadows
  • Straight lines appearing wavy
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Decreased intensity of colors
  • Blind spot in your center vision
  • Holes in your vision
  • History of macular degeneration in a family member

Types of Retinal Disorders

We treat a variety of retinal disorders. If you feel like you’re experiencing any retinal disorder symptoms, please contact us so we can evaluate your eyes for different types of disorders. 

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is a disease of the macula, an area of the retina at the back of the eye that is responsible for fine detail and central vision. This controls our ability to read, drive, recognize faces or colors and see objects in fine detail. Vision loss usually occurs gradually and typically affects both eyes at different rates. Your risk for macular degeneration increases as you age, and the disease is most likely to occur in those 55 and older.

Our retinal specialists use the latest diagnostic tools, cameras and retinal scanners to diagnose and monitor the progression of macular degeneration. They will also custom-tailor treatments for each patient to maximize visual outcomes. The Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado is pleased to be one of the first centers in the United States chosen to offer the CentraSight™ implantable telescope, which can help select patients with advanced macular degeneration function better.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that negatively affects the eyes. Over time, too much sugar in the blood leads to blockage of blood vessels that nourish the retina, cutting off its blood supply. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels, but the new blood vessels don’t develop properly and leak easily.

Treatment options include eye injections and laser surgery. Our retina specialists work with you to figure out the best option depending on the severity of your condition.

Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is separated from the wall of the eye and the supporting underlying tissue. When this occurs, the retina can no longer perform its primary function and, if the condition is left untreated, an irreversible loss of vision can result.

Surgery is almost always used to repair a retinal tear, hole or detachment. In many cases, retinal detachment can be repaired, ensuring no long-term interruption of vision. Various techniques are available and you’ll work with our surgeons to determine what procedure or combination of procedures is best for you.

Macular pucker

A macular pucker (epiretinal membrane) is a growth of clear tissue over the macula. This is the portion of the retina that corresponds to the central field of vision. In many cases, macular puckering does not significantly affect vision and may even be unnoticed. However, significant distortion of the contour of the macula may make the vision blurry or distorted.

In many cases, people adjust to the mild vision distortion and blurriness because it doesn’t affect activities of daily life, such as reading and driving. In more severe cases where significant blurring of vision develops, a surgery called a vitrectomy is performed to improve the contour of the macula over time.

Macular hole

A macular hole is a small break in the macula, located in the center of the retina. The macula provides the sharp, central vision we need for reading, driving and seeing fine detail. A macular hole can cause blurred and distorted central vision.

Treatment is not always required because about 20 percent of macular holes will seal themselves. If treatment is required, vitrectomy surgery is recommended in order to remove the vitreous gel in the back of the eye.

Retinal vein or artery occlusion

Retinal vascular occlusion is a condition caused by a blockage in the veins or arteries that feed the retina. Constant blood flow is essential for proper retinal function. Once blockage occurs, there is no way to reverse it. However, vision can come back in eyes.

Our retina specialists may choose from a variety of treatment options including laser treatments and intravitreal injections.

Retinal tumors

Tumors in the eye are usually secondary tumors caused by cancers that have spread from other parts of the body, especially the breast, lung, bowel or prostate. Two types of primary tumors arise within the eye itself and are known as retinoblastoma in children and melanoma in adults. 

There are various ways to treat eye tumors, depending on the diagnosis, size and aggressiveness of the tumor. Certain small tumors may respond to laser treatment or freezing (cryosurgery). In some instances, it’s possible to remove a tumor surgically and still preserve vision. The retina specialists at Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado are often part of a multidisciplinary team, as many people with retinal tumors are treated by more than one specialist with more than one type of treatment.

Your eyes are in good hands!

The Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado has a powerful combination of the best doctors and the best technology to handle any vitreo-retinal disease or emergency. We have plenty of retinal disorder videos and information on our website. Please contact your Boulder, Longmont, Lafayette, or Greeley eye doctor if you exhibit any symptoms.