• The retina is the light-sensing tissue that resides in the back of your eye. It is responsible for
relaying images to your brain. Without a healthy retina, you can’t read, drive, or see fine details.
A retinal disorder or disease affects this very important tissue, which, in turn, can affect vision to
the point of blindness.
• Common retinal conditions include floaters, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, retinal
detachment, and retinitis pigments. There are other issues that can occur, but these conditions
are some of the most common and serious that a person can experience.
• Eye floaters are spots in your vision. They may look to you like black or gray specks, strings, or
cobwebs that drift about when you move your eyes and appear to dart away when you try to look at
• Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous)
inside your eyes becomes more liquid. Microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump and can
cast tiny shadows on your retina. The shadows you see are called floaters.
Symptoms of eye floaters may include:
• Small shapes in your vision that appear as dark specks or knobby, transparent strings of floating
• Spots that move when you move your eyes, so when you try to look at them, they move quickly out
of your visual field
• Spots that are most noticeable when you look at a plain bright background, such as a blue sky or a
• Small shapes or strings that eventually settle down and drift out of the line of vision
• Your doctor will conduct a complete eye exam including eye dilation to better see the back of
your eyes and the vitreous to determine the cause of the floaters.
• An ophthalmologist removes the vitreous through a small incision (vitrectomy) and replaces it
with a solution to help your eye maintain its shape. Surgery may not remove all the floaters,
new floaters can develop after surgery. Risks of a vitrectomy include bleeding and retinal
• Risks of laser therapy include damage to your retina if the laser is aimed incorrectly. Laser
surgery to treat floaters is used infrequently.
• Age-related macular degeneration — also called macular degeneration, AMD or ARMD — is
deterioration of the macula, which is the small central area of the retina of the eye that
controls visual acuity.
• Macular degeneration is diagnosed as either dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular).
Neovascular refers to growth of new blood vessels in an area, such as the macula, where they
are not supposed to be.
• Treatments for macular degeneration depend on whether the disease is in its early-stage, dry
form or in the more advanced, wet form that can lead to serious vision loss. No FDA-approved
treatments exist yet for dry macular degeneration, although nutritional intervention may help
prevent its progression to the wet form.
• For wet AMD, treatments aimed at stopping abnormal blood vessel growth include FDA-
approved drugs called Lucentis, Eylea, Macugen and Visudyne used with Photodynamic Therapy
or PDT. Lucentis has been shown to improve vision in a significant number of people with
macular degeneration. There are treatments, such as an antioxidant supplement that can slow
the progression, blocking unhealthy blood vessel development, and several others.
Diabetic Eye Disease
• Those with diabetes are more susceptible to retinal damage. There are many people throughout
Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, suffering from diabetes, and their eyes are paying a
• They notice blurry vision, double vision, floaters or dark spots, pressure or pain in at least one
eye, trouble with peripheral vision, flashing lights, or rings.
• The good news is that laser surgery is a treatment that can help a person suffering from diabetic
eye disease. It is also important to note that diabetics are also at increased risk of glaucoma and
• retinal detachment can occur when too much fluid accumulates behind the retina, causing
separation. However, there are other risk factors that increase the chances of retinal detachment. They
Previous retinal detachment in the other eye
Previous cataract surgery
The presence of other eye disorders
• The presence of floaters indicates that retinal detachment may be occurring. There may also be
flashes in the eye. If the condition isn’t quickly treated, it can cause permanent vision loss. If you
suddenly notice floaters or you have had them and they have increased, see your doctor immediately.
Other symptoms include a decrease in vision or seeing a gray curtain in your field of vision.
• Retinitis pigmentosa describes genetic conditions that can cause retinal degeneration. Vision
loss gradually declines as the rods and cones die. Leber’s congenital amaurosis, Usher
syndrome, Bardet-Biedel syndrome, rod-cone disease, and Refsum disease are some examples
of conditions that are classified as retinitis pigmentosa.
• Usually, rods are affected first, and then the degeneration moves to the cones. One of the
earliest symptoms is night blindness, but some people experience central vision loss or color
blindness. Adolescents and young adults are especially vulnerable since this is an inherited
• If you notice any changes in your vision, it is very important to have your eyes checked as soon
as possible. While some changes may be benign, others can indicate more serious conditions.