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In this section, we provide some basic information about the eye as well as the most common signs, symptoms and disorders of the Retina and Vitreous. We eagerly await your feedback so as to provide only the most useful information to our valuable patrons. Choose a topic below to learn more:

Floaters & Flashes

Floaters may be defined as a veil, spider web, small clouds or dark spots moving about in one’s field of vision. Floaters are seen more prominently when staring against a light, blank wall. These occur when the Vitreous Humor, a jelly-like substance in the interior of the eye, begins to liquefy and pull onto the Retina it is in contact with. This causes a separation between the Retina and the Vitreous Humor, resulting in the clumping up of the latter. The shadow of these clumps are seen by the patient as "Floaters". Floaters however also tend to appear with advancing age as the Vitreous Humor loses its jelly-like consistency.

A Flash of light is in simple terms described as a "spark' or a "strong flare of lightning" in the eye, occurring either once or repetitively. The appearance of flashes signals to the ophthalmologist that the attachment between the Retina and the Vitreous Humor is being strained. If this traction increases, it may result in the development of either a Retinal Tear/Detachment or a Retinal Hole, conditions that may require surgery and laser therapy as part of treatment. Flashes of light are an omnipotent sign of seeing an ophthalmologist immediately.

Lattice Degeneration

Lattice Degeneration is a form of hereditary degeneration of the Retina. It generally does not show predisposition to either race or sex. Clinical features may include retinal thinning, branching whitish lines on the retinal surface and even small holes in the retina The condition warrants regular, periodic retinal exams as it does predispose patients to the development of retinal tears.

Age-Related Macular Degenration (AMD)

Age-Related Macular Degeneration may be defined as a chronic condition that is responsible for central loss of vision. It develops gradually and is the most common cause of reduced vision in the United States for patients older than 55-60 yrs old. It is caused essentially by the involvement of the macula, the structure responsible for central and color vision, resulting in its thinning and damage. AMD may be classified either as the "DRY" form, wherein there is a breakdown of the macula with the formation of "Drusen" that is thus deposited in the eye, or the more serious "WET" form, wherein there is an abnormal growth of fragile blood vessels in the macula that eventually crack up or rupture, leading to leakage of blood in the eye and thereby damaging the macula. The leak is usually diagnosed using a modality known as Fluorescein Angiography. In either form, a drastic drop in vision is noted only if the central point of the macula, known as the fovea, is involved. The symptoms include a central blind spot in vision, haziness or blurry vision, reduced brightness of colors, and in the "WET" form, at times distortion of vision (sttraight lines or faces appearing curvy). Consult an Ophthalmologist at the earliest if you notice any of these symptoms.

The "DRY" form is far more common (about 90% cases), but has no satisfactory cure as of yet. The "WET" form, though possessing more harmful potential, does have treatment options that include the use of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT); Laser Therapy, wherein laser shots are used to coagulate the leaking abnormal blood vessels; and drugs such as Ranibizumab (LUCENTIS), Bevacizumab (AVASTIN)*, as well as Pegaptanib Sodium (MACUGEN), all of which are injected into the eye so as to prevent the growth of such blood vessels. You may find more details on these injections in our "Intra-Vitreal Injections" sub-topic. The goal of therapy is to stop any further bleeding within the eye, and to at least stabilize, if not improve the condition of the involved eye. Anti-oxidant pills may reduce the level of visual loss in highly developed cases.