What is the Retina?
The retina is the light sensitive, sensory membrane along the posterior chamber (rear portion) of the eye that processes vision. It is composed of several layers of cells, including the photoreceptor rods and cones. The rods are responsible for processing what we see in dim light, while the cones process and adapt light changes, and allow for color vision. In the middle of the retina is the macula, which provides central vision needed for reading, driving, and seeing finer details.
Similar to a camera lens, light rays are focused through the cornea, pupil, and lens onto the retina. The retina then converts the light rays into nerve signals that are sent to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain interprets these signals as images.
Retinal Disease Symptoms and Diagnosis
Retinal diseases can develop for a variety of reasons, such as aging, family history, systemic diseases (such as diabetes), or trauma. Many symptoms of retinal problems are common to more than one specific retinal disease. This can make diagnosis of a symptom difficult without a comprehensive examination and testing for any abnormalities. Part of a comprehensive eye examination at Giliberti Eye and Laser Center can include:
Amsler Grid Test, which will test the clarity of the central vision.
Visual Field, which uses a Humphrey Field Analyzer to assess the full horizontal and vertical range and sensitivity of vision. It is used to detect eye and brain disorders that can cause peripheral vision loss and other visual field abnormalities.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which is performed to capture precise and detailed images of the retina and used to diagnose a number of retinal problems and monitor responses to treatments.
Fundus Photography, which involves the use of a retinal camera to photograph the vitreous, retina, choroid, and optic nerve. Fundus photographs are usually taken through a dilated pupil in order to document any abnormalities and follow the progress of a disease.
For the convenience and comfort of our patients, Giliberti Eye and Laser Center is proud to utilize the 3D OCT-1 Maestro. This state-of-the-art machine simultaneously performs spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fundus photography to deliver superior care.
Dr. Orazio L. Giliberti, F.A.C.S. has over 30 years of experience treating and managing retinal diseases, including:
Floaters are small moving spots that are caused by shadows cast onto the retina. Cells or other materials create these shadows and blockages within the vitreous gel, which fills the space between the lens and the retina. They can appear in a variety of shapes, such as dots, circles, or cobwebs.
Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a disease that affects the macula and destroys central vision. A common early symptom is that straight lines appear crooked, which can be indicated by the Amsler Grid. While treatment can slow vision loss, it does not restore vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a disease that occurs in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Prolonged elevated blood sugar can cause damage to the blood vessels of the retina. Early on there may be no symptoms or only mild vision problems, however it can cause blindness.
Hypertensive Retinopathy is a disease that occurs when blood pressure is too high. This can cause damage and narrowing of the blood vessels of the retina, which may restrict blood from reaching the retina. It can also put pressure on the optic nerve, limiting the retina’s functionality and resulting in vision problems.
Retinal Tears and Detachment
A continuous pulling of the vitreous gel can damage the retina and may result in a retinal tear or detachment. A retinal tear allows fluid to seep behind the retina and gradually accumulate. If there is a dramatic enough separation of the retina and eye wall, it can become a retinal detachment.
Retinal Disease Treatment
Early detection of a retinal disease is important. Treatments of retinal disease may be complex and can often be urgent. The main goal is to stop or slow a particular disease’s progression, as well as protect, improve, or restore vision. There are instances where damage that has occurred can’t be reversed. Treatment options can include surgical procedures, injections, and prosthesis implants, to name a few. Giliberti Eye and Laser Center is proud to work closely with NJ Retina to give our patients the most thorough care and treatment options possible. We treat patients from throughout New Jersey (including the neighboring towns of Wayne, Woodland Park, Cedar Grove, Verona, and Little Falls), the New York metropolitan area, and beyond!
Be sure to keep up with regularly scheduled eye examinations and to follow any advised treatment plan accordingly. If any new or unusual symptoms occur, it is important to be treated immediately.
Call Giliberti Eye and Laser Center at (973) 595-0011 to schedule your comprehensive eye examination!
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