What is the retina?
The retina is made up of millions of light-sensing cells that are responsible for sharp central vision. The retina quickly turns light into electrical signals and then sends them to your brain through the optic nerve. Your brain translates the electrical signals into the images you see.
What kinds of disorders and diseases can affect the retina?
The retina may be damaged by injury or diseases such as:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy and diabetes macular edema
- Macular edema
- Macular hole
- Macular pucker
- Retinitis pigmentosa
- Retinopathy of prematurity
- Stargardt disease
- Usher syndrome
How are retinal diseases diagnosed?
An eye care professional can diagnose retinal diseases through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Additional tests performed during this exam can visualize the blood vessels of the retina and measure the electrical activity of cells of the retina. Genetic testing can identify mutations underlying the development of inherited retinal diseases in some patients. The sooner a retinal disease is diagnosed, the more of a chance you have to optimize your remaining vision.
How are retinal diseases treated?
Some retinal diseases can be treated with surgery or medications. If you have low vision due to retinal disease, there are steps you can take to maximize your remaining vision. Low vision aids may include:
- Reading glasses with high-powered lenses
- Large-print reading materials
- Computer aids and other technologies
- Handheld magnifiers
- Talking devices such as watches, calculators, and clocks
- Video magnifiers
- Retinal implants