Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018 10:30 am

Updated: 3:13 pm, Thu Oct 11, 2018.

Why everyone over 50 needs a retina eye exam

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss affecting more than 10 million Americans. In addition, diabetic retinopathy has afflicted over 8 million Americans and that number is expected to increase significantly. Both diseases effect the back inside of your eye, the retina. The retina records the images you see and sends them to the optic nerve and from there to the brain. Without an exam a patient may simply think they need better glasses while the disease is causing irreversible damage.

Fortunately, there are now treatments for both macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy in order to reduce the vision loss. The caveat is, the earlier the diagnosis the better the vision. Retina exams require an optometrist, ophthalmologist or vitreoretinal ophthalmologist to dilate your pupils and examine the back of the eye. The exam is painless. If an optometrist or general ophthalmologist diagnoses a retina problem they will send the patient to a vitreoretinal ophthalmologist for treatment. Advancements in drug therapy allow vitreoretinal ophthalmologists to significantly help patients with macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

The simple process of aging can cause age related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the deterioration of the central portion of the retina. The medications the vitreoretinal ophthalmologist can administer slows the deteriorations and for many patients allows them to continue to drive, read and enjoy their vision. There are two basic types of macular degeneration, wet and dry. Wet AMD refers to degeneration in which the blood vessels in the eye are leaking. The medications help reduce or stop the leaking. Dry AMD needs to be monitored in order to ensure it has not transitioned into wet AMD. Smoking doubles the risk of AMD.

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. Similar to AMD, patients with diabetic retinopathy are experiencing damage to the retina that can be treated with medications if diagnosed on time. Any individual with diabetes or a family history of diabetes should have a retina exam.

Signs and symptoms Patients with any of the following need a retina exam:

• Floaters (an image that looks like a piece of dust floating in the air)

• Distortion (straight lines look curvy) • Blurred vision

• A spot in the middle of your vision

This patient education material is courtesy of Queens Vitreoretinal Consultants, P.C. This practice has 11 highly trained Vitreoretinal Ophthalmologists, each of whom has received advanced retina training after completing their ophthalmology training.

Queens: Vitreoretinal Consultants, P.C. has 2 locations including Elmhurst and Flushing and can be reached at (718) 793-6430.

Long Island: Vitreoretinal Consultants has 4 locations including Great Neck, Rockville Centre, Hauppauge and Riverhead. They can be reached at (516) 466-0390.


Thursday, October 11, 2018 10:30 am.

Updated: 3:13 pm.

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