At Rockville Eye Physicians, we treat a wide variety of retina conditions including:
Flashes and Floaters
what is Macular Degeneration?
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) occurs when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD, you lose your central vision and may not be able to see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far. However, peripheral (side) vision will still be normal.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
There are two types of AMD: Dry AMD (non-neovascular) and Wet AMD (neovascular).
Dry AMD is quite common. About 80% of people who have AMD have the dry form. Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein, also known as drusen, grow. The best forms of treatment involve vision aids, vitamins and supplements.
Wet AMD is less common but more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. Treatment of wet AMD involves injectable medications to stop the bleeding and prevent further damage.
Preventing Macular Degeneration
Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. It is important to have regular visits to an ophthalmologist as a way of preventative care. Our doctors can look for early signs of AMD before you have any vision problems.
what is Diabetic Retinopathy?
People with diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy where high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These damaged blood vessels can swell and leak or they can close, stopping blood from passing through. Sometimes new abnormal blood vessels grow on the retina. All of these changes can affect your vision.
Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
There are two main stages of diabetic eye disease: Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR).
NPDR is the early stage of diabetic eye disease which can cause blurry vision. Many people with diabetes have this condition. Tiny blood vessels leak, making the retina swell. Additionally, blood vessels in the retina can close off which results in a lack of blood flow to the macula. Sometimes, tiny particles called exudates can form in the retina and can affect your vision as well.
PDR is the more advanced stage of diabetic eye disease which can cause central and peripheral (side) vision loss. It happens when the retina starts growing new blood vessels. These fragile new vessels often bleed into the vitreous. If they only bleed a little, you might see a few dark floaters. If they bleed a lot, it might block all vision. These new blood vessels can form scar tissue as well. Scar tissue can cause problems with the macula or lead to a detached retina.
Preventing diabetic retinopathy
If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure and maintaining a healthy program of diet and exercise can significantly reduce your chances of developing retinopathy.
Our doctors offer comprehensive dilated eye exams for diabetic patients. Diabetic retinopathy may be found even before you notice any vision problems.
WHAT ARE FLOATERS?
Floaters look like small specks, dots, circles, lines or cobwebs in your field of vision. While they seem to be in front of your eye, they are floating inside. Floaters are tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous that fills your eye. What you see are the shadows these clumps cast on your retina.
What is posterior Vitreous Detachment?
Part of the eye is filled with a fluid called the vitreous. As we age, our vitreous starts to become more fluid and shrink. While these changes occur, sometimes clumps or strands may form in the vitreous. If the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye, it is called a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). Floaters usually happen with posterior vitreous detachment. They tend to fade or go away over time.
What are flashes?
Flashes can look like flashing lights or lightning streaks in your field of vision. You might see flashes on and off. These flashes happen when the vitreous rubs or pulls on your retina.
When are floaters and flashes serious?
Most floaters are not a problem. However, there are times when they can be signs of a serious condition and you should call us right away:
you notice a lot of new floaters
you have a lot of flashes
a shadow appears in your peripheral (side) vision
a gray curtain covers part of your vision
These floaters and flashes could be symptoms of a torn or detached retina. This is when the retina pulls away from the back of your eye. This is a serious condition that needs to be treated immediately.