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What are retinal conditions?

The retina is composed of a light-sensitive tissue that lines the inner surface of the eye, Upon entering the eye, light passes through the cornea, the lens and the vitreous (clear gel that fills the space between the lens and the retina) before reaching the retina. The optics of the eye create an image on the retina, much like a camera film, that triggers electrical impulses that stimulate various visual centres of the brain via the optic nerve. In the centre of this nerve tissue is the macular, which provides the sharp, central vision needed for reading, driving and seeing fine detail.

Over time, the usually clear vitreous can become opaque, and will impede light from reaching the retina, resulting in visual problems such as ‘floaters’ (cobwebs or specks in your field of vision) or hazy vision.

There are a number of different disorders that may affect the retina, a few of which are detailed below:

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) has been covered in great detail; for more information regarding this disorder please use the menu above.
  • Macular hole – this is a small hole in the macular, which is located at the centre of the retina, and is responsible for our sharp and detailed central vision.
  • Retinal detachment – the retina may peel away from its underlying support tissue and therefore become detached or torn. The reason for the detachment may be due to a shrinking vitreous, in an ageing eye. The force exerted by the vitreous as it shrinks can be enough to tear the retina.
  • Diabetic retinopathy – diabetes can affect sight by causing cataracts, glaucoma and may cause damage to blood vessels inside the eye. This latter problem may cause the retina to leak blood, grow fragile brush-like branches and scar tissue.

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Learn more...

Who is at risk?
How retinal conditions affect our vision
How retinal conditions are treated
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