Contact the Wills Eye Retina Service
Doctors on the Wills Eye Retina Service are dedicated to providing comprehensive management of both medical and surgical diseases that affect the retina and vitreous.
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the blood sugar level is elevated because the body is unable to use and store sugar. This high sugar content damages blood vessels in the body over time and can affect a variety of body organs such as the eyes, heart, and kidneys. Diabetes affects the eyes by causing deterioration of blood vessels in the retina. Breakdown of retinal blood vessels may result in fluid leaking into the center of the retina (macular edema) or abnormal blood vessels that grow on the surface of the retina (neovascularization) which can bleed and scar. This can lead to loss of central and possibly peripheral vision.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition affecting people age 50 years and older. The condition may be associated with central vision loss such as loss of the ability to read, to drive a car, or see someone’s face if it progresses to more advanced stages. The macula refers to the central portion of the retina. The retina is similar to film inside a camera. The image one sees is focused by the cornea and lens of the eye and then cast upon the center of the retina (macula.) Many people with AMD have no visual symptoms and may retain normal 20/20 vision indefinitely. A relatively small percentage of people with AMD will lose central vision and the ability to read and drive a car. Although AMD can cause central vision loss, it does not typically lead to complete blindness.
Other Diseases of the Macula
A macular hole occurs when the center part of the retina, called the macula, has developed a defect where the retinal tissue is stretched open. Although we do not know exactly why a macular hole develops in a given individual, it results from traction of the vitreous gel pulling on the center of the macula just enough to create a hole in this area. Unlike tears in the side or periphery of the retina, a retinal detachment does not typically follow the development of a macular hole. The only effective treatment for a macular hole is surgery.
Macular Pucker is characterized by an abnormal, thin, cellophane-like piece of tissue that grows on the surface of the center of the retina. (The center of the retina is where the image that you see is focused and is also called the macula.) The tissue grows as a sheet or membrane on the retinal surface and, in some people, contracts and distorts the center of the retina. The effect is some degree of distortion or blurring of the central, focused vision. The peripheral vision is usually not affected at all. Although there may occasionally be other symptoms such as floaters, it is the distortion and blurring which is most troublesome. Surgery is recommended for significant pucker that causes distortion or blur.
Retinitis Pigmentosa - 25 years after losing vision due to retinitis pigmentosa, a Wills Eye patient tells her story of a game-changing new device that allows her to see.