Vital Information to Maintain Your Vision
OSM’s leading ophthalmic specialists evaluate each patient and treat with the most effective and beneficial surgical and non-surgical methods to ensure the best outcome to maintain your vision.
Early detection and treatment is key to protect against loss of vision and blindness.
The retina is a layer of tissue in the eye that is responsible for visual messages delivered to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain interprets this information into images. A retinal detachment occurs if the retina pulls away from its supportive tissue. A retinal detachment is often preceded by retinal tears or retinal breaks. If not treated immediately retinal detachments cause permanent vision loss and blindness. Treatment of retinal tears or breaks can often prevent the progression to a retinal detachment.
Symptoms of retinal tear or detachment can be floaters (specks or spider webs) seen in your field of vision, a drape or curtain over your field of vision, and/or light flashes in the eye.
A retinal tear or detachment is a medical emergency. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see an ophthalmologist promptly. Surgery and/or laser will be required to save your vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that causes damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue (the retina) that lines the back of the eye. It is one of the leading causes of blindness among adults and the diabetic population.
Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes, often has no symptoms at the onset, but eventually can cause severe vision loss and blindness. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to potentially acquire diabetic retinopathy. It is important to manage your diabetes and schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year to help prevent vision loss. If diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed in a timely manner, the ophthalmologist will put you on a treatment plan to help maintain your sight. If you notice vision changes, contact OSM immediately.
Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)
Diabetic macular edema is swelling in the center part of the retina (the macula) due to a buildup of fluid caused by unhealthy leaking blood vessels. DME is one of many retinal complications of diabetic retinopathy that can cause devastating loss of vision. Today, there are several treatment for DME including medications injected into the eye and/or laser therapy. The visual outcome of DME is directly related to the promptness of treatment.
Macular degeneration is divided into two different categories: Dry Macular Degeneration (DAMD) and Wet Macular Degeneration (WAMD).
Dry Macular Degeneration (DAMD)
Dry Macular Degeneration is a result of damage and thinning of the macula – a small central area of the retina responsible for clear, sharp vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among older people. Vision loss from macular degeneration is gradual and usually effects only the central vision without effecting the peripheral vision. When the damage to the macula advances to the point that it results in abnormal blood vessels leaking under the retina it becomes WET Macular Degeneration.
It is critically important to try to prevent DAMD from “converting” to WAMD. Not smoking, a well-balanced diet, and AREDS2 vitamins are some ways to prevent conversion to WAMD. It is critically important for anybody that may have macular degeneration to be screened by an ophthalmologist or retina specialist.
Wet Macular Degeneration (WAMD)
Wet Macular Degeneration (WAMD) occurs when the damage to the macula advances and new, unhealthy blood vessels leak fluid or blood into the macula. It is critically important to treat WAMD immediately when it “converts” from DAMD to WAMD. WAMD is treated by medicine into the eye. The medicine eliminates the fluid in the retina and stops the unhealthy blood vessels from growing, leaking and bleeding.
Floaters, Flashes, and Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)
Floaters occur when the vitreous (the clear, gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye) begins to clump and degenerate. While it may seems like the floaters are in front of your eye they are actually inside the eye within the vitreous.
A large floater in the center of the vision is often causes by a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). A PVD occurs when the vitreous gel separates from the retina and starts floating freely inside the eye. PVD is very common among older adults, nearsighted individuals and after Cataract Surgery. When the vitreous gel rubs and pulls on the retina you may see what looks like flashing lights or lightning streaks. These are usually termed Flashes.
Posterior vitreous detachment or floaters do not directly threaten vision, but they can lead to a retinal tear or detachment. Anyone seeing flashes or floaters should see the ophthalmologist or retina specialist immediately to ensure that any retinal tears or detachments can be found and treated promptly.