Eye health is one important aspect of full body wellness. Being able to see is integral to being part of the world around you. When your eyes aren’t working to their full potential, you’re missing out on living life to its fullest. One key part of our eyes is the retina. The retina plays an important role in the process of seeing, and without it, the eye doesn’t function as it should.
What Is The Retina?
The retina is how the eye converts light rays through the eye. The light rays from the retina travel along the optic nerve. This turns the light rays into the images that we see every day. Without a healthy retina, clear vision is impossible. When light rays are incoming, the macula is where these images are processed. Another part of the retina is the macula. The macula helps focus incoming images. The macula is what makes reading small print possible, and deals with any fine, sensitive vision. Outside the macula, the retina oversees peripheral vision. In a healthy retina, both the retina and the macula work together to create clear vision.
Common Retinal Problems
Usually, the retina and the macula are healthy, but as we age, these tend to break down. A very common retinal problem is diabetic retinopathy. This can occur in many diabetic patients over time, with hemorrhages developing in the retina which might lead to loss of vision if not recognized and treated appropriately.
Another common retinal problem is vitreous detachment, which occurs when the clear vitreous gel in the eye pulls away from the retina. This often causes the patient to see floaters and sometimes light flashes. Vitreous detachments in a small percentage of patients can also go on to become retinal detachments, therefore urgent evaluation is recommended if a vitreous detachment is suspected.
Retinal detachment is an emergent condition, often characterized by a dark curtain or veil coming over the vision in one eye. It may be proceeded by light flashes and floaters. If a retinal detachment is suspected, emergent evaluation is indicated.
Another common retina problem is macular degeneration. Macular degeneration occurs when cells inside of the macula die. When the cells die, fine vision needed for things like driving and reading becomes almost impossible. There are two kinds of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when the cells in the macula that are sensitive to light begin to break down. One of the earliest symptoms of AMD is that straight lines begin to look crooked. In wet macular degeneration, irregular blood cells grow under the macula. These abnormal blood vessels will usually begin to leak fluids and blood. These fluids will cause instant damage to the macula, with the earliest symptom being blurred vision.
If you want learn more about retinal health, and how to keep your sight at its healthiest, request an appointment with one of Horizon Eye Care’s doctors. We’re happy to help make sure you can see the world around you at its clearest!