Retina-related conditions

Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition that happens when your retina -- a layer of tissue at the back of your eye that processes light -- pulls away from the tissue around it.

Retina-related conditions or retinal diseases could be due to damage to any part of the retina. They generally manifest as a hindrance to normal vision.In retinal diseases, the main aim of the treatment is to slow the progression of the disease and protect the optimal vision of the affected patient.

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What are Retina-related conditions ?

The retina is the thin layer of tissue inside the eye, the extreme back of the eyewall. 

It is responsible for receiving and consolidating visual information to the brain through the optic nerve, allowing us to see our surroundings. The information from outside is received by millions of retinal (rods and cones) cells and nerve cells. 

Retina-related conditions or retinal diseases could be due to damage to any part of the retina. They generally manifest as a hindrance to normal vision. 

Types of common retinal conditions and diseases, and their respective causes are as follows:

  • Retinal tear: The eye centrally contains a gel-like clear substance called vitreous. This gel-like substance shrinks and creates a pull on the thin retina. Because of the traction, the retina tears. A sign of retinal tears is the onset of flashing lights and floaters.

  • Retinal detachment: This condition is characterized by the presence of fluid under the retina. It generally happens after a retinal tear, when fluid seeps in and enters the underlying tissue beneath the retina causing it to lift. 

  • Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic patients are more prone to developing this condition. The capillaries (tiny blood vessels) located at the back of the eye degenerate and leak fluids under the retinal tissue. 

  • This may cause the retina to swell and distort vision. This condition could also be because of abnormally formed capillaries that break and bleed. This condition may worsen the vision further.

  • Epiretinal membrane: It is a thin, delicate, and fibrous tissue covering the retina like a film on the inner surface of the retina. If this membrane draws upon the retina like a crinkled cling film, it distorts the vision. Objects begin to appear twisted, bent, or even blurred. 

  • Macular hole: The macula is the central region of the retina and the most important portion. It is responsible for humans to see things in great detail. Anomalous traction, when developed between the vitreous and retina of the eye or an injury to the eye, could lead to the formation of a hole. This hole is a defect called the macular hole. 

  • Macular degeneration: The macula, which is located at the center of the retina, begins to deteriorate. This leads to blurring of central vision and some may experience a blind spot central to the visual field.

Macular degenerations occur in two forms: dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. For most, dry macular degeneration precedes wet macular degeneration. It can happen in one or both eyes. 

  • Retinitis pigmentosa: It is a degenerative form of retinal disease. It is passed on from generation to generation. It affects the retinal and gradually leads to loss of vision at night and even peripheral vision.

Potential risks:

  • Smoking

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes or other such conditions

  • Trauma to the eye

  • Aging

  • Inheritance

What are the symptoms of Retina-related conditions ?

The retinal diseases pose a hindrance to the normal vision of the affected individual.

Many of these have common signs and thus need a thorough evaluation by the doctor for effective management thereafter. The doctor to begin looks for the following signs:

  • Cobwebs or floaters

  • Blurred lines appearing wavy

  • Hindered or defective peripheral vision

  • Loss of vision

The defects in the vision are subtle, to begin with. One may have to close one eye and notice any alterations in the visual field of the eye under evaluation. 

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