Retina Diseases

Retina Diseases

At Duquette Family Eye Care we work to prevent vision loss from retina diseases and problems. We examine patients who experience floaters and flashes of light to be sure they are not experiencing retinal tears or retinal detachment as well as provide evaluation for diabetic eye problems age related macular degeneration (AMD). Routine eye exams provide one of the best ways to prevent vision loss in seniors through early detection, diagnosis and treatment of age related macular degeneration (AMD). Our eye doctors work closely with local retina specialists and cooperatively with primary care physicians to understand the causes, help them make the proper diagnosis, and implement the necessary treatment for retina diseases and problems.

Floaters

Seeing floaters is a common occurrence and usually no cause for worry. Floaters may appear as tiny specks or “cobwebs” or as small dark shadows, “thread-like” strands or even “squiggly” lines that actually float around in your field of vision. They tend to move as your eyes move, but not necessarily in the same direction, and often just drift away when your eyes stop moving. Typically they become more noticeable when looking at a visual field with a white background such as a plain piece of paper or a clear blue sky. Floaters are a normal and expected consequence of the aging process of your eyes and, if left alone, they will “settle” or break up over time and no longer be annoying. The likelihood of experiencing floaters increases as we get older and is more common if you are very nearsighted, have diabetes or have had a blow to the head from sports or an accident. Sometimes other eye conditions or problems inside the eye may cause floaters such as infections, inflammation, hemorrhages, retinal tears or trauma to the eye.

About Flashes of Light

Occasionally, a small section of the vitreous gel inside your eye may pull away from the retina all at once instead of slowly and gradually. This can cause a noticeable and sudden increase in the number of floaters and be accompanied by flashes of light. This is called a Vitreous Detachment and it means that you should have a prompt eye exam, especially if light flashes or a distortion in your side vision accompanies it. These are signs of a possible Retinal Detachment, which is a sight threatening medical emergency.

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a painless site threatening eye problem but often causes a number of symptoms and warning signs that occur often before the actual detachment happens. The key is to preserving vision is to recognize these warning signs and symptoms and scheduling quick diagnosis and treatment. Warning signs and symptoms of retinal detachment may include:

  • Flashes of light that may occur in your field of vision toward the outermost periphery.
  • A sudden increase in the number of floaters in your vision and possibly even a ring of floaters or “hairs” in your vision-sometimes this is accompanied by “specks” or a “cobweb”.
  • A sense of a “shadow” in your peripheral vision that may progress toward the center of your vision.
  • A sensation of a “curtain” or a “veil” being drawn over your vision.
  • Straight lines, such as the edge of a door or walls, appear to be curved or appear as a “bubble”.
  • In extreme cases of retinal detachment you may experience a loss of central vision.

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, please call Duquette Family Eye Care at 401-769-6323 and relay these symptoms to the Patient Services Staff so that you can be given an appointment immediately.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in seniors in which the central portion of the retina, called the macula, is damaged as a result of the hardening of the small arteries supplying oxygen and nutrients to the retinal tissue. There are two main types of Age Related Macular Degeneration: Dry Macular Degeneration and Wet Macular Degeneration. Dry Macular Degeneration is the most common type of Age Related Macular Degeneration making up 85-90% of cases, resulting in a slow progressive loss of vision. Typically, we see small, yellow colored deposits between the retinal layers, which are called drusen. Many people 50 years of age or older have some drusen as they age and may be asked to schedule eye exams more frequently in order to monitor them as there is some possibility that Dry Macular Degeneration will progress to Wet Macular Degeneration. We need to detect Wet Macular Degeneration quickly as it has far more serious consequences for vision loss. Wet Macular Degeneration is characterized by an abnormal growth of new blood vessels under the retina, called “neovascularization,” which is prone to be leaky and can easily break and bleed. If leakage occurs, the macula may actually begin to swell, bleed and scar causing severe loss of central vision, which may be irreversible.

At Duquette Family Eye Care we are able to perform in-office Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) exams as well work with your primary care physician and retina specialists to be certain you have access to care you might need including non-surgical retina injection treatment with Lucentis®, Eylea®, Vabysmo® & Susvimo™ for treatment of Wet AMD,

and SYFOVRE™ & Izervay™ Injections for treatment of Geographic Atrophy (GA), an advanced form of Dry AMD,  or other medications if needed to help maintain your vision and prevent vision loss. With regular eye exams, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, vision loss from AMD can be slowed or halted in most instances.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is a complication of Diabetes Mellitus that, if left undetected and treated, can lead to severe and catastrophic vision loss. All patients with diabetes should have regular eye exams and diagnostic testing in order to detect changes in the small blood vessels of the retina that may indicate the need for treatment-even if there is no vision loss! Damage to the small blood vessels in the retina that causes diabetic retinopathy is the most frequent cause of new blindness among adults aged 20-74 years old. However, with regular eye exams, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, vision loss can be prevented or halted in most instances. At Duquette Family Eye Care we are able to perform diabetic eye exams as well as work with your primary care physician and retina specialists to be certain you have access to care you might need including treatment with Eylea®, VABYSMO® or Lucentis® Injections or steroid implants Ozurdex® or Iluvien®, or other medications, laser treatment and surgery if needed to help maintain your vision and prevent vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema.