Specialists in conditions of the retina, macula and vitreous
The eye is one of the most important organs in the body, and vision is one of the greatest gifts to the human experience. Disorders of the retina and associated vision loss can be a great hardship to a person’s quality of life.
Pacific Northwest Retina realizes how important it is to have routine checkups to identify and treat eye disease. All eye diseases should be regarded as serious, and should be treated appropriately to avoid serious damage. At Pacific Northwest Retina we can diagnose and treat a full spectrum of retinal diseases and disorders, including the conditions outlined here.
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older in the United States. It involves damage to the part of the eye called the macula. The macula is a small but extremely important area located at the center of the retina, which is the light-sensing tissue lining the back of the eye.
A retinal vein occlusion occurs when a vein in the eye’s retina is blocked. The retina is the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye. It converts light rays into signals, which are sent through the optic nerve to your brain where they are recognized as images. A blocked vein damages the blood vessels of the retina. Hemorrhages (bleeding) and leakage of fluid occur from the areas of blocked blood vessels.
CRAO usually occurs in people between the ages of 50 and 70. The most common medical problem associated with CRAO is arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Carotid artery disease is found in almost half the people with CRAO.
If you have diabetes mellitus, your body does not use and store sugar properly. High bloodsugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and helps to send images to the brain. The damage to retinal vessels is referred to as diabetic retinopathy.
Epiretinal membranes are a thin, nearly transparent layer of fibrous cellular material that forms as a ‘film’ over the macula at the back of your eye, resulting in difficulty seeing. It is a condition that is often confused with macular degeneration. Although both conditions do affect the macula, they actually have different symptoms and causes.
The macula is the central area of one of the most important parts of your eye—the retina. The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Light rays are focused onto the retina, where they are transmitted to the brain and interpreted as the images you see. The macula is the portion of the retina responsible for clear, detailed vision.
The retina is a nerve layer at the back of your eye that senses light and sends images to your brain. An eye is like a camera. The lens in the front of the eye focuses light onto the retina. You can think of the retina as the film that lines the back of a camera.
The vitreous is a clear substance within the eye. It has a gel-like consistency. Vitreous gel is composed of 99% water by weight, and the other 1% is made up of special substances known as collagen and hyaluronic acid, which give the vitreous its gel-like consistency. The vitreous is a vestige of development, necessary to the growth of the hyaloidal artery during growth in utero. Once we are born, this blood vessel atrophies or dissolves as it is no longer needed to carry blood from the back of the eye to the front of the eye.
You may sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision. These are called floaters. You can often see them when looking at a plain background, like a blank wall or blue sky. Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear gel-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye.
Lattice degeneration is a thinning and weakening of the retina, the light-sensitive layer of cells lining the back of the eye, that can lead to a retinal tear. The vitreous, a clear gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye, is contained in a sac loosely attached to the retina. As one ages, the vitreous takes on a more fluid consistency and the sac sometimes separates from the retina.
A number of conditions can cause a vitreous hemorrhage, where blood leaks into the vitreous ‘gel’ inside the eye. The eye is filled with a clear vitreous ‘gel’. When blood leaks into this gel, usually from blockage or damage to the blood vessels of the retina, is known as a vitreous hemorrhage. This usually results in blurred vision, as the leaked fluids block the light that passes into the eye.
Cystoid macular edema, commonly called CME, is a disorder that affects the retina, the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye. The retina converts light rays into signals, which are sent through the optic nerve to your brain where they are recognized as images. CME is the presence of multiple fluid-filled, cyst-like (cystoid) structures in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for central (detail) vision. The result is swelling, or edema, of the macula.
Myopic degeneration is a condition characterized by progressive stretching of the eye that damages the retina, the layer of light-sensitive cells that lines the back of the eye. People with severe nearsightedness (high myopia) are at greater risk for myopic degeneration.
The eye is shaped much like a tennis ball, with three different layers of tissue surrounding the central gel-filled cavity. The innermost layer is the retina, which senses light and helps to send images to your brain. The middle layer between the sclera and the retina is called the uvea. The outermost layer is the sclera, the strong white wall of the eye. Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea.
Central Serous Chorioretinopathy, commonly referred to as CSC, is a condition in which fluid accumulates under the retina, causing a serious (fluid-filled) detachment and vision loss.
Dry eye is a condition in which a person doesn’t have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye. As a result of dry eye, your eyes cannot eliminate dust and other irritants and can cause stinging, burning, pain, redness. Although it’s uncomfortable, dry eye syndrome almost never causes permanent vision loss.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of genetic disorders that affect the retina’s ability to respond to light. The retina is the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye that converts light rays into impulses. The impulses are sent through the optic nerve to your brain, where they are recognized as images.
Stargardt’s is an inherited disease that affects the retina, the layer of light-sensitive cells lining the back of the eye. It usually becomes apparent between the ages of 8 and 14. Boys and girls are equally susceptible and more than one child in a family may have it.
Best disease is an eye condition that affects a tiny part of the retina at the back of your eye, which is called the macula. Best disease can start to cause changes at the back of the eye between the ages of 3-15 although it does not usually affect vision until later on in life.
Melanoma is a type of cancer that develops in the cells that produce melanin. Your eyes have melanin-producing cells and can develop melanoma. Eye melanoma is also called ocular melanoma. Ocular melanoma is the most common primary cancer of the eye in adults.