What are the Symptoms of Retinal Tears?

The retina is the inner lining of the eye; it is the part of the eye that contains light-sensitive tissue and creates vision. Retinal tears can happen as a result of trauma to the eye or a naturally occurring posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).

What is posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)?

The vitreous is a clear gel-like substance that is attached to the retina at birth. With age, PVD occurs when this gel naturally separates from the retina. In most cases, it does not cause any issues. For those with abnormally ‘sticky’ vitreous gel, however, PVD can spontaneously cause retinal tears.

“As commonly discussed with my patients, untreated retinal tears may result in retinal detachment and vision loss,” explains Dr. Agustin Martinez.

What are common symptoms of retinal tears?

Suffering from a retina tear is serious and often requires medical treatment to prevent vision loss. Common symptoms of retinal tears include:

  • Sudden onset of black spots or ‘floaters’ in your field of vision
  • Photopsia (flashes of light) in one or both eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually decreased peripheral (side) vision
  • A curtain-like shadow over your visual field

When should I see a doctor?

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, you are at an increased risk of developing retinal detachment. Retinal detachment can cause blindness and should be treated as a medical emergency. The skilled physicians at Austin Retina Associates urge you to seek immediate medical attention, particularly if you:

  • Are over the age of 50
  • Have a family or personal history of retinal detachment
  • Are extremely nearsighted

For excellent care and retinal tears treatment in central Texas, contact Austin Retina Associates at 877-925-7649 to schedule an appointment. We offer comprehensive capabilities few can match, the most advanced treatment and procedures, 24/7 doctor availability, and a highly experienced, knowledgeable and caring staff.

Common Causes of Macular Holes in Young Adults

A macular hole is a small break in the macula of the eye, which is the central part of the retina that gives people the ability to see details. When the macula is damaged, it can cause sudden blurred or distorted central vision. Central vision is needed for activities that require fine, sharp, straight-ahead vision, including reading, writing and driving.

When young adults experience a macular hole, not only can it limit their ability to see, but it can also limit their day-to-day activities. Macular holes can be treated, however, with a vitrectomy—a common treatment for this condition. During the surgery, a retinal specialist will remove the gel that is filling the injured area (macular hole) of the eye. This allows the eye to heal, help the hole close and restore central vision. The surgery lasts between 45 to 90 minutes and recovery is usually between four to eight weeks.

Causes of macular holes in young adults

These are the three most common causes of macular holes in young adults:

  • Injury or trauma
    Young adults who participate in high-contact activities are at an increased risk of developing a macular hole following blunt trauma to the eye. James Dooner notes that this is by far the most common cause of all macular holes in young people.
  • High myopia
    Young adults with high myopia—nearsightedness requiring a corrective lens prescription of at least -6.00 diopeters (D)—are at an increased risk of developing macular holes.
  • Ocular inflammation

Ocular inflammation is inflammation of the uvea, or middle layer of the eye, and is often caused by autoimmune disorders, inflammatory disorders or other diseases that weaken the immune system. Ocular inflammation may also result from a normal immune response of the body fighting an eye infection.

“The bottom line is that macular holes are very rare in young adults,” says Dr. Dooner. “They are much more common in the elderly.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing sudden blurred or distorted central vision, Austin Retina Associates can help diagnose and treat macular hole degeneration in Austin. Our skilled team of ophthalmologists has over 20 years’ experience treating diseases and injuries of the eye. Call 877-925-7649 to schedule an appointment.

Is It Safe to Do Retina Operations at an Old Age?

The retina is a layer of cells located at the back of the eyeball. These cells are light-sensitive and trigger nerve impulses that pass through the optic nerve and into the brain. From there, a visual image is formed. If something happens to one or both of your retinas, like a tear or detachment, you may experience temporary or permanent vision loss.

Eyesight naturally declines with age

It is common for eyesight to deteriorate with age. Beginning in the early 40s, adults may notice more difficulty seeing clearly at close distances, especially while reading or working on a computer. With age people are at risk for developing more serious types of age-related eye conditions like: Macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vessel occlusions and detached retinas. Each of these conditions affects the retina in some way and requires surgery to repair it or stop it from getting worse.

Is retina surgery safe for elderly people?

Generally speaking, ophthalmic treatments have a low risk of complications. However, elderly people have a higher risk of complications from any surgical procedure—including retina operations. This is largely due to other age-related health conditions like: Increased blood pressure, clogged arteries, and heart and lung disease.

“It’s important to note that age isn’t the predominant factor for the safety of a patient during an operation,” said Dr. Mark Levitan. “It really comes down to the patient’s overall health.”

All that said, surgery on the elderly can be done safely—if doctors take the necessary precautions. The skilled ophthalmologists at Austin Retina Associates have vast experience successfully treating and repairing age-related eye conditions in older adults. If you or a loved one is struggling with untimely vision loss, we are here to safely help you.

For skilled retinal surgery in Austin, call 877-925-7649.

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is the leading cause of blindness among Americans over the age of 50, affecting nearly 15 million men and women in the United States.

Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive loss of central vision

Though it only accounts for three percent of your entire visual field, central vision is required to see anything that is straight in front of you.

“AMD often begins as a blurred area near the center of the vision and grows larger over time, explains Dr. Shelley Day. “Central vision is essential for any activity requiring fine, clear vision, like reading, cooking, writing or fixing things around the house.”

Central vision also helps with estimating distances and recognizing faces. Over time, blurred vision due to age-related macular degeneration can lead to distortion or even blank spots (loss of vision).

The area affected by age-related macular degeneration is the macula. The macula sits at the back of your eye and is made up of millions of light-sensing cells. When it gets injured or begins to deteriorate, you are at risk of losing your central vision.

Two forms of age-related macular degeneration

AMD is divided into two general categories, dry AMD (DAMD) and wet AMD (WAMD):

DAMD

Approximately 90 percent of people diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration have DAMD. This is an early stage of the disease and occurs when small white or yellow deposits, called drusen, begin to form on the retina just beneath the macula. This may be asymptomatic or may cause slow gradual vision loss over time.

WAMD

If the disease progresses into wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels begin growing under or near retina (toward the macula), which may leak blood and fluid. WAMD typically causes a sudden and more severe loss of vision and can be treated with intraocular injections of medication

While there is no known cure, there are techniques and tools available to help you learn how to live a full life with AMD, including:

  • Intravitreal injections
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  • A combination of these treatments

If you’re in need of age-related macular degeneration treatment in Austin or treatment for other eye conditions, call the skilled ophthalmologists and eye surgeons at Austin Retina Associates at 877-925-7649. We’ll help safeguard your central ‘fine’ vision from age-related vision loss.

What Are the Best Treatments for Retinal Tears?

How important is your retina? As the key to clear vision, the retina is the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Through the cornea, pupil and lens, we focus light rays onto the retina. The retina converts those light rays into impulses that travel through the optic nerve to our brain, where they are translated into our vision.

When a retinal tear occurs, you may see new floaters (small dots, specks or strings or clouds moving in your field of vision) or flashes of light. If a retinal tear is left untreated, it can progress to a retinal detachment, which can appear like a dark curtain moving toward your central vision. A retinal detachment is a very serious medical condition that almost always causes blindness unless it is treated. That’s why we provide advanced diagnosis and 24/7 treatment of retinal tears in Austin.

Treatment for retinal tears

At Austin Retina Associates, we begin by thoroughly assessing your retinal condition. Then we will recommend a procedure (or may discuss several treatment options) with you.

“Most retinal tears are treated during in-office procedures,” says Dr. Peter Nixon, “However, if a retinal tear progresses to a retinal detachment, surgery is almost always required at a local surgery center or hospital under either local or general anesthesia. Most patients go home the same day.”

Treatment options for retinal tears include:

  • Laser surgery (photocoagulation) – During this procedure, a laser is used to make small burns around the retinal tear. The scarring that results seals the retina to the underlying tissue, helping to prevent a retinal detachment.
  • Freezing treatment (cryopexy) – A special freezing probe is applied to the sclera (white part of the eye); freezing the retina around the retinal tear. The result is a scar that helps secure the retina to the eye wall.

Innovative treatments for retinal tears, from some of the best in Texas

At Austin Retina Associates, protecting your vision has been our mission for more than 30 years. Since 1978, we have led the way in specialized retinal care, using leading-edge technologies to preserve and protect the vision of millions of Central Texans. From retinal tears to macular degeneration to treating and managing diabetic eye disease, you and your family can count on our unfailing dedication to your healthy vision. If you think you may have a retinal tear, please call us immediately at 877-925-7649 and relay your symptoms to us.

To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified retina specialists, call 877-925-7649 or use our online form for non-urgent symptoms to request your appointment today.