The retina is a light-sensitive layer of nerve tissue lining the back of the eye. The focusing structures of the eye create an image which is then captured by the retina, much like the film in a camera. The images are then sent to the brain through the optic nerve.
People with disorders of the retina may experience various symptoms, such as specks floating in their vision, flashes of light, blurred vision, or loss of vision. These disorders can be isolated or may be associated with other diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Many conditions affecting the retina do not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. If you have diabetes or certain other medical or eye conditions, your primary care doctor or your ophthalmologist can help you to determine when and how often to see a retina specialist.
The diagnosis of retinal disease and monitoring of existing retinal disorders requires a complete eye examination. This includes dilation of the pupils by use of eye drops. These drops may cause sensitivity to light; therefore sunglasses are needed to keep your eyes comfortable for a few hours following the dilated exam. One or several types of tests may need to be performed to diagnose and treat your condition.
An angiogram is a type of photograph that allows your doctor to visualize more clearly the blood vessels in the back of your eye and any associated abnormalities. An angiogram is performed by taking photographs of certain structures of the retina after the injection of a food dye called fluorescein into a peripheral vein, generally in the patient’s arm or hand. The dye circulates through the blood vessels, including the eye, and is eliminated from the body over a few days through the urinary tract. You should expect that your urine will appear yellow/orange over the course of several days, as the dye is eliminated.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is an imaging technique used to create cross-sectional images of the front or back of a patient’s eye, similar to the images created by computed tomography (‘CAT’ or ‘CT scan’), to allow detailed examination of ocular structures. OCT imaging may be performed in the office setting at the time of your visit.
Digital fundus photography is often used to photograph any abnormalities in order to carefully study any change in the appearance of a patient’s retina and macula over time.
At our Norwood, Massachusetts location you can find excellent diagnostic and treatment options for the following conditions: