Ophthalmology: Retina and Posterior Segment Disease
Everything behind the lens of the eye is called the posterior segment and is comprised
of the retina and vitreous body. The vitreous body is a jellylike substance that
fills the interior of the eyeball behind the lens. The retina (along with the optic
nerve) is essentially brain tissue—a nerve cell that transmits vision to the brain.
When light lands on the retina, the message of vision is sent to the brain by the
Patients at risk for retina diseases require frequent eye exams and a variety of
imaging studies to assess for any signs of early damage. These diseases, if caught,
can often be treated with medication, laser treatment or surgery. Treatment may
prevent further damage to the retina, and is now so advanced that some damage can
even be reversed.
Optimal treatment of retina and vitreous disease is best done by a fellowship-trained
retina specialist with access to specialized imaging and diagnostic equipment.
In addition to treatment of uveitis and
macular degeneration, UF Health Ophthalmology at Jacksonville evaluates
and treats the following conditions:
Diabetic retinopathy - The eye contains many small blood vessels,
and is at great risk for damage from diabetes. It is believed that extended exposure
of the blood vessels to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) damages the lining of the
vessels. This, in combination with other physiologic abnormalities in diabetics,
results in diabetic microvascular disease (disease of finer blood vessels in the
body). Risk factors include how long a person has been diabetic and how well the
diabetes is controlled. Diabetic patients with well controlled blood sugar and diabetes
management generally enjoy a better visual prognosis.
Retinal detachment - A retinal detachment occurs when the lining
of the inside of the eye (the retina) detaches from the outer shell of the eye.
Detachment causes vary, but the more common forms include: tears in the retina (rhegmatogenous
detachments), fluid under the retina (exudative detachments), and traction pulling
the retina off (tractional retinal detachments). The type of detachment and approach
to repair will be determined by the retina specialist. The retina can be successfully
reattached in approximately 90 percent of detachment cases. However, visual recovery
is affected by many other factors, including the amount of time the retina was detached
and the location of the detachment.
The symptoms are usually bright flashes of light which are caused by the retina
pulling away from the inside of the eye. Frequently, floaters will be noted. This
usually represents blood within the eye from the detachment. The patient will note
loss of vision, which is often described as a shade coming down over the eye.
Retinal hemorrhages - Bleeding within the retinal tissues is usually
associated with diabetes, but can occur with a wide variety of diseases or retinal
Retinal blood vessel occlusions - This includes retinal artery
or vein occlusion and is frequently due to vascular or systemic disease.
Retinal cancer (melanoma) - Melanoma
of the choroid can also be the site cancer from other primary sites, such as breast
or lung cancer.
Trauma - Trauma or injury to the eye can result in retinal damage,
tears, detachment or bleeding within the eye.
Retinal and intraocular infections - A wide variety of infections
involve the retinal and choroidal tissues. Expert treatment is required to evaluate
and treat the infection to minimize visual loss.