The retina is a layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. The retina senses light and sends images to your brain. At the center of the retina is an area called the macula. The macula is responsible for the sharp, central vision needed for reading, driving, and seeing fine detail.
Retinal diseases vary widely — some are common and easily remedied, while others are rare and more difficult to diagnose and treat.
Our retina specialists are highly skilled at differentiating the diseases. They help patients to understand their diagnosis and focus on designing a treatment plan specifically for them.
Planning and treating diseases early will help slow or stop the progression and preserve as much vision as possible. A routine eye exam can indicate the presence of retinal diseases, which is one of the many reasons why routine eye care is so important.
Floaters and Flashes
Floaters are commonly described as shadows or dark objects that “float” across your field of vision. They may appear as dark specks, strings or cobwebs that float through the eye. Floaters block light to the retina which in turn produces the shadowing effect.
Floaters are usually caused by changes in the vitreous gel, which is a substance that fills the center of the eye. When the vitreous gel rubs or pulls on the retina, it may create images that look like flashing lights or lightning streaks. The flashes of light may persist on and off for several weeks or months. A sudden onset of light flashes accompanied by new floaters can indicate something more serious such as a torn retina, requiring immediate medical attention. As we grow older, it’s more common to experience flashes and floaters since the vitreous gel changes with age.
If you’ve previously noticed floaters and they have not changed or worsened it may not be (delete second ‘not’) serious. However, the sudden appearance of floaters accompanied by a decrease in vision may signal a more serious medical condition and you should contact your ophthalmologist right away.