Diagnosis and Treatment of Retinal Diseases

The retina consists of light-sensitive tissue that plays an essential role in your ability to see.

by Jason H. Nakagawa, OD

What is the retina?

The retina is a layer of light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. When light enters the eye, it hits the light-sensitive cells (rods and cones), triggering nerve responses that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain uses these responses to create the image of what we're seeing.

What are the most common retina diseases?

The most common retina disease is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This disease affects about 15 million men and women in the U.S. In its earliest stages, it causes no symptoms, so many people don't know they have it until they have an eye exam. AMD affects the central portion of the retina called the macula, and left untreated, it can cause permanent blindness. Other retinal diseases include:

  • diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects more than half of all people with diabetes and causes damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to the retina
  • retina detachment, a serious condition that occurs when the retina begins to pull away from the back of the eye; immediate emergency treatment is required to prevent permanent blindness
  • macular holes, more common with people over age 60
  • retinal cancer, also called retinoblastoma

How are retinal diseases diagnosed?

Retinal diseases require a dilated eye exam. During the exam, special eye drops will be used to help dilate your pupils, the dark black portion at the center or your eyes. Once your pupils are dilated, Dr. Nakagawa will be able to see into your eye, all the way to the retina and the end of the optic nerve. Retina exams must be performed by a skilled ophthalmologist trained in identifying the earliest stages of retina diseases including small changes that could go unnoticed by other eye care providers.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Don't delay if you are experiencing changes in your vision. To visit our office, call Jason H. Nakagawa O.D. at (310) 340-6925 or request an appointment online.

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Very impressed with Dr. Nakagawa and his staff. I would highly recommend this office for eye care. It was the best experience I have ever had in an eye doctors office. Lucas G.

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