The retina is very delicate, and a tear can occur when shrinkage of the vitreous fluid – the clear, gel like substance which fills the center of the eye – pulls on the retina. The vitreous fluid can escape through this tear into a space between the retina and the back of the eye, causing the retina to detach. A blur or blind spot will occur where the retina has detached.
There are a number of ways to treat retinal detachment, and the appropriate treatment depends on the type, severity, and location of the detachment. One treatment requires insertion of a small gas bubble into the vitreous (fluid) which flattens the retina back into place. Sometimes, a tiny band made of silicone, called a scleral buckle, is attached to the outside of the eye, pressing inward and holding the retina in position.
Scar tissue can grow on the surface of the retina directly over the macula, and is called an epiretinal membrane or macular pucker. It can cause the retina to wrinkle and distort vision. This may result from surgery or another retinal problem. Or, as in most cases, it can occur in an otherwise healthy eye following a posterior vitreous detachment.
Surgery to remove the membrane is the only way to treat this type of vision loss, but if vision is only mildly affected surgery is not recommended. After surgery, about half the vision that was lost due to the epiretinal membrane is restored.
The Amsler Grid is one tool used to help detect vision problems resulting from damage to the macula (the central part of the retina) or the optic nerve. The damage may be caused by macular degeneration, glaucoma, or other eye diseases. Early diagnosis and treatment may limit or slow vision loss.
If you are at risk for macular degeneration or other eye diseases, using this chart at home is not a substitute for regularly scheduled visits with your ophthalmologist or optometrist.
Lines should be straight and at right angles to each other. Contact us right away if you notice any problem.