What kind of retinal issues may I be experiencing?
The retina is the neural part of your eye. In other words, it is the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of your eye that converts light rays into impulses, which are sent to the brain and interpreted into images. It goes without saying that issues affecting your retina can have serious implications for your vision. Regular visits to your optometrist can help to ensure that your eyes are functioning properly and that any retinal issues you experience are addressed quickly to safeguard your vision. The following are some of the most common issues that can affect your retina:
Retinal blood vessel changes
Changes to the blood vessels in your retina can lead to a condition known as retinal artery occlusion, which is a blockage in the arteries that carry blood to this part of your eye. You may notice symptoms such as blurring or even the complete loss of vision - these are signs to book an appointment with your optometrist as quickly as possible.
Hereditary retinal dystrophy
Hereditary retinal dystrophy refers to a number different inherited progressive disorders of visual function. If someone in your family - especially a parent or sibling - has a history of retinal problems, your optometrist may recommend comprehensive testing or more frequent visits to ensure your eyes are healthy and functioning properly.
Retinal bleeding, which is sometimes also known as retinal hemorrhage, can be caused by abnormal blood vessels in the retina, or by ruptured normal blood vessels. This bleeding can also be the result of an adjacent source of pressure or trauma, such as a tumour. Retinal bleeding is relatively easy for your optometrist to diagnose. You may notice relatively painless symptoms such as floaters in your vision or more serious effects, such as vision loss. Any changes in your normal vision should immediately be reported to an eye specialist. An appointment with your optometrist will identify the underlying cause of your retinal bleeding, and they will be able to develop a treatment plan based on your individual circumstances.
Retinal scarring can occur as a result of trauma or retinal detachment (see below). Scars on the retina are relatively common, but they may impact central vision, depending on their placement. Your optometrist will be able to assess the extent of the any scarring you may experience on your retina, and determine what measures need to be taken to minimise their effects.Retinal detachmentRetinal detachment can occur when the vitreous - the clear gel in the middle of your eye - begins to shrink and pull at the retina. This can be a natural part of the ageing process, but when it happens suddenly it can cause a tear in the retina, which can cause blurred vision and may result in blindness if it is not corrected through surgery. If you suspect you are experiencing retinal detachment, it is essential to treat the situation as an emergency and to seek treatment from your optometrist as soon as possible.
Will problems in one retina affect the other?
Whether or not you experience retinal problems in both eyes will depend on a number of factors, including the underlying cause of the issue. For example, conditions like diabetes can affect both eyes together or separately. By contrast, retina issues resulting from a trauma or injury to one eye are not likely to impact the other.If you have any questions about your retinas, or your eye health in general, do not hesitate to book an appointment with your optometrist. Regular monitoring through check-ups is the best way to be proactive about your eye health.