Retinal Disorders

Retinal disorders are a set of conditions that affect the eye’s light-sensitive tissue located on the back wall of the eye. The retina contains millions of photoreceptors that capture light and convert it into electrical impulses. These impulses travel along the optic nerve to the brain where they are turned into images. Some conditions that affect the retina include:

Macular Hole: A macular hole is literally a hole that develops in the foveal region of the retina. The foveal region of the retina is responsible for central vision. A macular hole can cause blurred and distorted central vision, and is most often related to aging and usually occurs in patients over 60. A macular hole can develop when the vitreous slowly shrinks and pulls away from the retinal surface. This is a natural part of the aging process and generally has no adverse effects. However, if the vitreous is firmly attached, it can form a macular hole when pulled away.

Macular holes often develop gradually. In the early stages, a person may notice a slight distortion or blurriness in their central vision. Straight lines or objects can begin to look bent or wavy. Reading and other routine activities become progressively more difficult. Surgical treatment is often helpful.

Macular Pucker: A macular pucker occurs when scar tissue forms near the macula, which is responsible for central vision. This can damage the surface of the retina. If this happens, central vision can become blurred and distorted. A macular pucker can also be caused by disease or trauma from injury.

Vision loss from a macular pucker can vary from none to severe, although severe loss is uncommon. People suffering from the condition may notice that central vision is blurry and straight lines can appear wavy. In addition, they may find seeing fine detail and reading small print challenging, and a gray area may appear in the center of vision.

Age-related Macular Degeneration: Age-related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among people aged 50 or older in the U.S. It is a disease that blurs the sharp, central vision needed for activities such as reading and driving. There are two types of age-related macular degeneration, exudative and nonexudative (also known as wet and dry). In exudative age-related macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels begin to grow under the macula. Loss of central vision occurs quickly and is considered more severe than nonexudative age-related macular degeneration. In nonexudative age-related macular degeneration, the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down and gradually blurs central vision. Over time, blurred spots may become bigger and darker. As nonexudative age-related macular degeneration develops people may start to develop drusen, or yellow deposits under the retina.