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Retinal Disease Q&A

If you are suffering from retinal disease, or think you may have this eye emergency, time is of the essence. Learn more about what to do if you have a retinal disease.

Diseases and conditions of the retina

To examine the retina, an ophthalmologist will dilate your eyes during a comprehensive examination. To dilate, or widen, the eyes, drops are placed in them. A retina specialist then uses a special magnifying lenses to exam your retina. The dilation will reverse after several hours.

Common Retina Conditions


ret•i•na [rétt'n] (plural ret•i•nas, ret•i•nae [rétt'nae]) noun a light-sensitive membrane lining the inside of the eye containing rods and cones that receive an image from the lens and send it to the brain through the optic nerve. Light rays reflected from any object we look at enter the eye and are focused by the eye’s optical structures: cornea, iris, pupil, and lens. The final destination of the light rays is the retina, a layer of nerve tissue that lines two-thirds of the back of the eye. In the center of the retina is the macula, an area that is only 1.5 mm (0.06 in) in diameter. The macula is responsible for the clearest, most detailed vision.
A retina specialist is an ophthalmologist who has completed additional training in conditions which involve the vitreous body and retina of the eye. This subspecialty of ophthalmology is sometimes known as vitreoretinal medicine. Retina specialists treat a wide range of eye conditions, dealing with both adults and children, and they can be found working in hospitals and eye care clinics. The services of a vitreoretinal specialist may be recommended to a patient with an eye condition which cannot be cared for by a general ophthalmologist.
Some health conditions that lead to vision problems can develop without any visual symptoms. Two of the most common retinal diseases that may develop without symptoms are diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Diabetic patients should get a dilated eye exam at least yearly because: Proliferative retinopathy can develop without symptoms. At this advanced stage, you are at high risk for vision loss. Macular edema can develop without symptoms at any of the four stages of diabetic retinopathy.


Keshav Narain, MD
South Bay Retina
333 W El Camino Real #340 Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Carley Cook Clinical Manager (408) 294-3534 – Privacy Officer
Effective Date: 09/23/2013

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