You likely visit your optometrist for regular eye exams or whenever you need a prescription for glasses or contact lenses.
But did you know that an optometrist can detect early signs of retinal problems and help manage them until you need to see a retina specialist?
At our optometric team in we do just that!
But First, What Does a Retina Specialist Do?
Retina specialists are medical doctors who have received further training in eye diseases to become ophthalmologists. These doctors have earned an additional degree focused on diagnosing and treating retinal conditions. The treatments that retina specialists perform include laser surgeries and intraocular injections as well as hospital-based surgeries, such as vitrectomy.
What Is the Retina?
The retina is a layer of nerve cells at the back of your eye. These cells detect the light entering the eye and send signals via nerves to the brain so you can see images clearly.
What Conditions Does A Retina Specialist Treat?
A retina specialist treats a wide range of retinal problems, such as:
Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the main causes of blindness in people over the age of 60. This disease damages the macula, the part of the retina responsible for your central, detailed vision.
The retina specialist will choose a treatment based on the type of AMD:
Dry AMD, the more common form of macular degeneration, or Wet AMD, the rarer but more severe form.
Diabetic retinopathy is a sight-threatening condition caused by high blood sugar levels in diabetics. In the early stages of the disease, a retina specialist will conduct a retinal eye exam and suggest methods to slow its progression.
If the condition worsens, blood vessels in the eye may swell and lead to aneurysms or diabetic macular edema. Your retina specialist will recommend procedures to stop extra blood vessels from growing or leaking or will conduct surgery to remove part of the vitreous humor.
Retinal Tearing or Detachment
Eye inflammation or injury can cause the vitreous humor to tear slightly or detach completely from the retina. If left untreated, retinal detachment can lead to vision loss and even blindness. A retina specialist treats this condition with laser surgery, cryotherapy (freezing therapy), or surgical repair.
Age or an injury can cause the macula to pull away from the retina and leave a hole or cause the macula to pucker or wrinkle. In order to prevent further damage and vision loss, a retina specialist will perform surgery.
Ocular Trauma or Eye Injury
If an object penetrates your eye, you will likely need immediate attention from a retina specialist in order to preserve your vision. In many cases, the retina specialist can repair your eye and prevent vision loss through surgery.
To learn more, schedule an appointment with Eye & Ear of the Palm Beaches in Boynton Beach today. Our dedicated eye care team will be happy to help.