Skip to main menu Skip to main content Skip to footer


What is the Retina?

The retina is an important part of the eye, containing light-sensitive cells that gather information and send it to the brain to form an image you see. Like many parts of the eye and the body, the retina is vulnerable to various conditions that can impair vision or even cause blindness. 

At Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons, our dedicated team of eye doctors is committed to preserving lifelong eye health through comprehensive care.

The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the inside wall of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. The retina contains photoreceptor cells called rods and cones that detect light that lands on the retina and convert it into signals so you can see. 

The macula is a specific and very important part of the retina. It is a small, central part of the retina that allows you to see fine details clearly and is responsible for what you see when you look at something straight ahead. 

Many critical parts of the visual process take place in the retina. However, the retina is also susceptible to many eye conditions that can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. Protecting retinal health is vital for preserving good eyesight.

What Are Some Common Retina Conditions? 

There are many eye conditions that affect the retina. These conditions often require treatment to avoid permanent vision changes. 

Retinal Detachment or Torn Retina

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates from the inside wall of the eye. When this happens, the retina loses access to the underlying blood vessels that keep it nourished and functional. 

Retinal detachment is a serious condition that can cause rapid vision loss. Warning symptoms may include sudden flashes, floaters, shadows, or blind spots in vision. 

A retinal tear is similar to a retinal detachment, except a tear is a small opening in the retina, not a complete detachment. Retinal tears can often be repaired before it progresses to a more serious detachment where the retina completely lifts away from the back of the eye.

Retinal detachments are considered a medical emergency. Without rapid surgical repair, a detached retina can cause permanent vision damage. 

To treat retinal tears or detachment, retinal surgeons may inject a gas bubble inside the eye that floats up against the retina, flattening it back down over the underlying tissue so it can heal in place. This can be followed by laser surgery or other methods to seal the edges of the retinal break. 

Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Eye Disease

Uncontrolled high blood sugar from diabetes can damage the tiny retinal blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to the retina, causing a condition termed diabetic retinopathy. Mild forms of diabetic retinopathy may not cause any obvious vision changes at first. 

However, as the condition progresses, new fragile, dysfunctional blood vessels may grow to help replace the damaged vessels. These new blood vessels are often weakly-formed and may bleed or leak fluid under the macula.

This can cause numerous symptoms, including blurry vision. Related conditions like diabetic macular edema or vitreous hemorrhage can accompany diabetic retinopathy. 

These other conditions caused by diabetic eye disease can also threaten your vision due to fluid building up under the macula or bleeding inside the eye. If you are diabetic, managing your blood sugar and having annual eye exams can help prevent vision damage from diabetic retinopathy.

Close monitoring from your eye doctor at Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons can help preserve vision. To treat diabetic retinopathy, your eye doctor may refer you to a retinal specialist for retinal injections to help prevent the worsening of the condition. 

In some cases, surgery or laser treatment is needed.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is a retinal condition that causes gradual loss of central vision. As the cells in the macula deteriorate, you slowly lose the ability to make out fine details, which is necessary for reading, seeing faces, and driving.

There are two types of macular degeneration: dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration causes a slow, gradual loss of central vision, while wet macular degeneration leads to faster vision loss from abnormal blood vessels leaking fluid or blood.

Dry macular degeneration is much more common than the wet form. However, dry macular degeneration can progress into wet macular degeneration. 

Macular degeneration, sometimes called age-related macular degeneration or AMD, affects mostly people over the age of fifty-five. There is no treatment for dry macular degeneration.

Instead, your Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons eye doctor will closely monitor the condition over time. Wet macular degeneration, on the other hand, can often be treated with injections of medication into the eye that helps stop abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage to prevent further vision loss.

Vitreous Disorders   

The vitreous is the clear gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye, helping maintain the eye’s round contour. As the vitreous ages, it can thin or liquefy, allowing tiny particles inside the eye to cast shadows, which are often called floaters. 

However, sometimes floaters can be a symptom of vitreous detachment or shrinkage, creating traction that can tear the retina. Another common symptom of a vitreous detachment is flashes of light.

Any of these symptoms can also mean you are experiencing a retinal detachment. If you notice flashes and floaters, schedule a retina evaluation so your eye doctor can check for retinal holes or tears needing repair. 

Protecting your retina is key for maintaining clear, comfortable vision over time. Being aware of risk factors and warning symptoms allows early management of retinal conditions before permanent damage threatens vision.

Retina Specialists

Get Started

Are you experiencing symptoms of a retinal condition? Schedule an appointment at Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons in Atlanta, GA, today!
Request an Appointment
(678) 584-0400
Order Contact Lenses
Our Location
Leave a Review