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Common Retinal Disorders: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments


Dec 16, 2023 | 5 min read

The human eye is a complex organ that plays an essential role in our daily lives, allowing us to perceive the world around us. The retina, located at the back of the eye, is an essential component responsible for converting light into electrical signals that the brain interprets as images. Unfortunately, various retinal disorders can affect this intricate process, potentially leading to vision impairment or even blindness The retina is a delicate piece of nerve tissue that lines the back inside wall of the eye and is the part of the eye responsible for creating an image that is processed by the brain.


Due to the numerous blood veins directly behind it, the retina typically appears red or orange. Your healthcare professional can see into your retina through your lens and pupil with an ophthalmoscope. Images or specialized retinal scans can occasionally reveal details about the retina that an ophthalmoscope cannot photograph or otherwise visualize. Ultrasound can be utilized if the clinician cannot see the retina because of other eye issues.


A person may need to consult an ophthalmologist if they are having issues with their retina. This doctor specializes in ophthalmology, or the treatment of the eyes. A person may specifically need to see an eye physician with expertise in retinal disorders. Vitreoretinal medicine is the name given to this specialization.


Some Common Retinal Diseases


Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD):

AMD is a progressive condition that affects the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision.

Causes: Primarily associated with aging, genetic factors, smoking, and certain lifestyle choices.

Symptoms: Blurred or distorted central vision, difficulty recognizing faces, and straight lines appearing wavy.


Medications: Anti-VEGF drugs, such as ranibizumab and aflibercept, can be injected into the eye to slow the progression of wet AMD.

Laser Therapy: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) or laser photocoagulation may be used to seal abnormal blood vessels in the retina.


Diabetic Retinopathy:

A complication of diabetes where high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina.

Causes: Prolonged diabetes, particularly when blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.

Symptoms: Initially, no noticeable symptoms; as it progresses, symptoms may include blurred vision, floaters, and vision loss.


Blood Sugar Control: Strict control of blood sugar levels through diet, medication, and insulin is crucial.

Laser Therapy: Laser treatment (photocoagulation) can be used to seal leaking blood vessels and reduce swelling in the Retina.


Retinal Detachment:

Occurs when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye.

Causes: Trauma, aging, or previous eye surgeries can contribute to retinal detachment.

Symptoms: Sudden development of floaters, flashes of light, and the appearance of a curtain-like shadow over the visual field.


Surgery: Surgical procedures, such as pneumatic retinopexy, scleral buckling, or vitrectomy, may be performed to reattach the Retina.


Retinitis Pigmentosa:

A group of genetic disorders causes the breakdown and loss of cells in the retina.

Causes: Genetic mutations inherited from parents.

Symptoms: Night blindness, tunnel vision, and gradual loss of peripheral and central vision.


Gene Therapy: Emerging treatments are exploring gene therapies to slow the progression of the condition.

Low-Vision Aids: Devices such as magnifiers and special glasses can help individuals with remaining vision.


Macular Edema:

Swelling or fluid accumulation in the macula is often associated with other retinal conditions like diabetic retinopathy.

Causes: Conditions that cause blood vessel leakage or inflammation in the retina.

Symptoms: Blurred or distorted central vision.


Anti-VEGF Injections: Similar to AMD, anti-VEGF drugs may be injected into the eye to reduce swelling.

Corticosteroids: Intraocular corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation and edema.



Splitting of the layers of the retina leads to impaired vision.

Causes: Typically a congenital condition, but acquired forms can occur.

Symptoms: Blurred vision, difficulty seeing fine details, and, in severe cases, vision loss.


Observation: If the condition is stable, it may be advisable to do routine monitoring in certain instances.

Surgery: To remove fluid and treat abnormalities in the retina, a vitrectomy may be recommended in severe cases.


Macular Hole:

A small hole forms in the macula, affecting central vision.

Causes: Age-related changes, trauma, or underlying retinal conditions.

Symptoms: Blurred or distorted central vision and difficulty with detailed tasks.


  • Vitrectomy: Surgery involves removing the vitreous gel and filling the hole with a gas bubble or silicone oil.
  • Face-Down Positioning: Patients may be instructed to maintain a face-down position post-surgery to facilitate healing.



Conditions affecting the retina are known as retinal disorders, and they frequently result in visual difficulties. The majority of retinal illnesses must be detected early to be prevented or to slow their course.

Regular eye examinations are recommended, especially for those who are at a higher risk of retinal problems. A person should get in touch with an eye doctor if they start to notice any changes in their eyesight.

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