Arizona Retinal Specialists provides superior eye treatment supported by expertise and experience. With the assistance of our professional team of specialists, we diagnose and treat a wide range of retinal and eye conditions and diseases. Arizona Retinal Specialists utilize the most advanced medical technologies available in all facets of the highly specialized specialty of retinal eye care.
The retina is a thin multilayer made up mostly of neural cells that originate in the ectoderm. Like the film in a camera, the retina is tasked with the essential duty of receiving, modifying, and transferring visual inputs from the exterior environment to the optic nerve and, eventually, the brain’s visual cortex.
The retina is made up of millions of different cell types closely packed together in a network that spans the interior, rear surface of the eye (fundus) as a thin film of tissue less than 1/2 millimeter thick. It occupies roughly 65% of the back of the eye, close to the optic nerve.
The retina is similar to a three-layered cake, with three layers holding neurons’ cell bodies and two filling layers containing connections between neurons. Rods and cones are the two fundamental types of photoreceptors.
Appropriate transmission of visual signals is mainly dependent on the highly specialized and complex structure of the retina. Numerous shocks to the retina can result in pathological processes that compromise this fragile structure and result in retinal disorders. The ability of retinal tissue to respond to such lesions is largely determined by the kind, length, and degree of the injury.
There is a wide variety of retinal pathology, including:
- Congenital abnormalities
- Degenerations (particularly age-related macular degeneration)
- Inflammatory diseases
- Retinal detachment
- Retinal vascular diseases
- Retinal involvement in systemic diseases
Those disorders are recognized and have diagnosable symptoms and features. The broad range of retinal conditions that may exist is extensive. Following are the major pathological processes in retinal diseases we find and treat in our patients.
Retinal Detachment and Retinal Tear
Retinal detachment refers to the separation of the photoreceptor layer from the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) called neurosensory retinal detachment. The three significant detachment types are due to a tear, tractional, the second most common type of retinal detachment, or exudative. Exudative detachments are due to fluid leakage into the subretinal space due to choroidal inflammation, retinal vascular lesions, and choroidal tumors.
Tractional detachment happens when the vitreous, the fluid that fills the space between the lens and the retina of your eye, pulls away from your retina. The vitreous is a complex extracellular matrix comprised of 98 percent water and a framework of collagen fibers cross-linked with hyaluronic acid molecules. As hyaluronic acid depolymerizes and collagen filaments collapse, vitreous liquefaction occurs, a process termed synchysis.
Pockets of liquid vitreous expand and penetrate the posterior hyaloid gap between the vitreous cortex and the retina’s internal limiting membrane. When the vitreous collapses enough, it can allow the posterior hyaloid that is adhering to the retina to peel away from the inner retinal surface entirely. This results in a posterior vitreous detachment.
The term ‘dystrophy’ refers to the deterioration of tissue. Retinal dystrophies are progressive visual abnormalities that develop over time. Although retinal dystrophy can be induced by illness or starvation, it is more frequently caused by genetics.
The most prevalent dystrophy is Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a general term for a group of inherited retinal disorders. In RP, peripheral (or side) vision gradually deteriorates one or both eyes’ vision until it is lost in most cases. In these cases, central vision is typically preserved until late.
Other retinal dystrophies include:
- Stargardt disease
- Cone and Cone-rod dystrophy
- Macular dystrophy
- Usher syndrome
- Congenital stationary night blindness
Retinal Hemorrhage is when there is abnormal bleeding inside the retina’s fragile blood vessels. When retinal hemorrhages occur, symptoms range from a loss of vision to blindness. While vision issues are frequently temporary, they can become permanent in some cases.
A hit to the head is the most prevalent cause of retinal hemorrhages. A hit to the head might be direct or in the form of a jolting movement that causes the head to jerk forward or backward with enough power to injure the retina, causing its blood vessels to hemorrhage.
Hemorrhaging of the retina frequently happens due to vehicle accidents, sports accidents, falls from great heights, trip or slip and fall accidents, violent attacks, and similar traumatic occurrences.
Other causes of retinal hemorrhage include circulatory system disorders, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and eye problems associated with diabetes. The accumulation of fluid behind the retina, called central serous retinopathy, is another cause characterized by temporary vision impairment.
Neovascularization is the process through which small, aberrant, leaky blood vessels develop within the eye. These are mostly an issue for those who have a more severe form of central retinal vein blockage. When the eye’s tissues become oxygen-deprived, new blood vessels can develop.
The eyes respond by releasing molecules called vascular endothelial growth factor, or V.E.G.F. The growth factor promotes the formation of new blood vessels from existing blood vessels nearby, a process known as “angiogenesis.” Certain blood vessels formed in response to V.E.G.F. are frequently weak, leaky neovascular vessels.
Retinal telangiectasia is a category of uncommon illnesses with no known origin that damages the capillaries of the retina. The diseases are defined by retinal vascular dilatation and tortuosity and the development of numerous aneurysms with varying degrees of leakage that ooze from the blood vessels. Three kinds of retinal telangiectasias exist, idiopathic JXT, Leber’s miliary aneurysms, and Coats’ disease.
Coats’ Disease is a severe unilateral type of retinal telangiectasia that most frequently affects boys under the age of ten. An eye turn (Strabismus) or a white pupil (Leukocoria) is frequently observed in individuals resulting in prematurity-related retinopathy.
Retinal Vein Occlusion
Retinal vein occlusion is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. The obstruction might occur in either the major vein or artery. Additionally, blockages may form in the branch veins and arteries that run throughout the retina.
A blockage in the retina’s vein or artery can result in the accumulation of blood or other fluids, impairing the retina’s capacity to filter light properly. When light is obstructed or when fluids are present, abrupt vision loss can occur.
The extent of visual loss may be determined by the location of the obstruction or clot. Blocked major veins or arteries are frequently more severe than blocked branch veins or arteries. Occlusion of the retinal arteries is a potentially severe disorder, especially if the arteries are already hardened.
Retinoschisis is an ocular illness defined by an irregular splitting of the retina’s neurosensory layers, most commonly in the outer plexiform layer. Retinoschisis is classified into degenerative forms, which are extremely frequent and virtually solely affect the peripheral retina, and inherited types, which are extremely rare and affect central and peripheral retinas.
Degenerative variants are asymptomatic and damage just the peripheral retina without impairing visual acuity. Certain uncommon types cause vision loss in the corresponding visual area.
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
Prematurity retinopathy, also known as retrolental fibroplasia, and Terry syndrome, is an eye condition that affects prematurely born infants who have undergone neonatal critical care and receive oxygen treatment due to their lungs developing prematurely. It is believed to be caused by disordered retinal blood vessel development, resulting in scarring and retinal detachment.
ROP can be moderate and resolve naturally, but in severe cases, it can result in blindness. Thus, all preterm infants are at risk for ROP, and extremely low birth weight adds to the risk. Both oxygen toxicity and relative hypoxia can cause ROP.
Make an appointment with AZRS
At Arizona Retinal Specialist, we are experts in retinal care. We provide individualized Retinal Medical and Surgical Care diagnosing and treating a comprehensive range of medical and surgical retinal disorders. Contact us today at 623 – 474 – 3937 (EYES). We can’t wait to see you and make your eyes see the best they can be!