Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE RETINA?

The eye can be divided into two large parts. The front of the eye has structures designed to focus light sharply including the cornea and crystalline lens. These structures are designed to focus a sharp image onto the retina.

The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. It is delicate and responsible for transforming light into signals that the brain can interpret into images.

WHAT IS VITREOUS HUMOR?

The vitreous humor is a clear jelly material that fills most of the eye interior and is attached to the retina. When we are young we are not usually aware of the vitreous because it is clear and firmly attached to the retina. As we age, the vitreous humor begins to disintegrate and we begin to notice floaters that may appear as dark spots, lines, spiderwebs, or circles in our vision.

The vitreous humor may separate from the retina in some cases, and patients may see more floaters or flashes of light.

In some cases, the vitreous tears the retina as it separates. This can cause retinal tears or a retinal detachment. Patients may notice a dark curtain over part of their peripheral vision or the vision may become very blurry.

Anytime a patient notices new floaters, flashes, or a dark curtain over their vision they should seek medical attention immediately from a retinal specialist.

WHAT IS A RETINA SPECIALIST?

A retina specialist is an ophthalmologist with specialty training to treat conditions that affect the retina. A retina specialist is capable of providing advanced medical and surgical treatments for a variety of eye conditions that may affect the retina. Some retina specialists also specialize in seeing patients with eye inflammation (uveitis) and ocular tumors (ocular oncologists).

WHY SHOULD I SEE A RETINA SPECIALIST?

If you have a condition that is causing you to experience visual symptoms, it may or may not be related to a retina condition. Only a comprehensive dilated exam can distinguish between retina and non-retina related conditions. Medical and surgical treatments are available depending on each individual situation.

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