10 Critical Warning Signs of Retinal Damage

10 CRITICAL WARNING SIGNS OF RETINAL DAMAGE. Have you been dealing with vision problems
recently that are worse than normal? If you see any of these symptoms, chances
are you have retinal damage and should seek us out for assistance. Retinal damage is not an uncommon problem. Its leading cause – macular degeneration
– affects between 10 and 11 million people in the USA. As damage to the retina worsens, sight is
impaired and quality of life declines. Retinal damage can be the result of many underlying
problems. You need to be on the watch for the symptoms
of retinal detachment, retinal displacement, and other retina conditions. Be aware that while eyesight does generally
worsen with age, there are vital steps you should take to protect your precious eyesight. But damage to the retina can occur in some
eyes, no matter how much care we take. Here are the 10 critical warning signs of
retinal damage which mean it’s time to consult an ophthalmologist. 1. Dim Vision. ‘Dim’ is the word we use to describe vision
which is literally less bright than it used to be. It’s characterized by a lack of contrast
between colors and a “darkening” of the vision. This is because the eye is taking in less
light, due to damaged retinal cells. It’s often confused with blurred vision,
which is a different symptom in and of itself. However, the two may be experienced together,
which makes it harder for patients to describe their symptoms. But to do our best to describe the symptom,
it might be compared to turning down an electrical light using a dimmer switch. This is because the retina is the part of
the eye which contains structures sensitive to light. These generate impulses along the optic nerve
to the brain. This is why it’s such an important part
of the eye, and why you must always ask for professional help if you suspect retinal damage. 2. Distorted Vision. Look at something you know is straight, such
as the edge of a rectangular table or a lamp post. If it appears ‘wavy’ to you, your vision
has become distorted. This may be due to retinal damage. There’s a part of the eye called the epiretinal
membrane, which lies right on top of the retina. If it pulls up on the retina too much, it
can distort your vision, and eventually cause damage. However, distorted vision may also be due
to capillaries at the back of the eye bursting and leaking fluid into the retina. This might be due to capillaries which aren’t
quite ordinary, or diabetic retinopathy. This is a condition which may develop over
time if diabetes sufferers are unable to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Whatever the cause, distorted vision should
be followed up on immediately by a trip to the eye doctor. Don’t drive yourself if your vision has
been affected in this way – ask a family member or call a taxi. Double Vision. Double vision is a subset symptom of distorted
vision. This is where you see two versions of the
same sight, slightly layered or overlapping. It can be very disorienting as well as uncomfortable
to view. Retinal damage can be the underlying cause
of this issue. Cataracts can also cause double vision, but
this will usually only occur in one eye. 3.Floating Webs. We all sometimes see the “floating” lines
in our eyes from time to time. Squiggly lines are common, as are small rings. Mostly, these are harmless and our brains
tune out and stop noticing them again after a few minutes. They’re produced by a condition called posterior
vitreous detachment, which by and large is not a major problem. But if these are worsening or becoming more
common – and if they’re building into a ‘web’ and obstructing your vision – they
may be a sign of something more serious, especially if they appear alongside other symptoms like
flashing lights (see below). 4.Flashing Lights. Flashing lights are often associated with
migraines. If you’re not a migraine sufferer and the
lights aren’t followed up by a headache, they are likely to be something else. They may relate to retinal damage. The retina is light-sensitive, and when it’s
damaged, it may send abnormal signals up the optic nerve to the brain. This can be expressed in your vision as flashes
of lights. These might light up the floating “webs,”
or just appear as random flashes. This can be quite distracting and will interfere
with your day-to-day life. 5.Halos Appear Around Light Sources. People with retinal damage issues sometimes
see “halos” surrounding light bulbs and other light sources. This is because the retina isn’t able to
create such a clear and crisp picture as it used to, thanks to retinal damage. Light may be refracting through the structures
in your damaged retina oddly. So as well as white halos, you might also
see rainbow halos. Whichever you’re seeing, you’ll find it
harder to focus your vision. They interfere with your depth of field, which
can make it difficult to see things further away. 6.Grey “Curtain” Blocking Your Vision. It may seem like someos pulled a dark curtain
across part of your vision, blocking out all or most light. Other patients liken it to a shadow being
cast across their eye. This may relate to very serious retinal detachment,
and needs to be looked at immediately. Fast action could save your vision in that
eye – left unchecked, the damage could be permanent. Retinal detachment is where the retina pulls
loose from the back of the eye. It can become detached from the blood vessels
at the back of the eye. Without a blood supply, cells in the retina
no longer receive the oxygen they need to survive. They then get damaged or die off very quickly,
resulting in this curtain, or shadow, effect on the vision. A grey curtain might also be the result of
blockage of these same blood vessels. If the retinal artery becomes obstructed,
the blood supply to the retina can become completely blocked, leading to total blindness
in that eye. If it’s a vein rather than an artery or
other vessels leading towards the retina, the situation is a little different. Sight loss will still occur, but more slowly. 7.Peripheral Shadows. Aside from the more dramatrtain effect described
above, some patients describe “shadows” edging in from the corner of their eye or
eyes. This may also be the result of retinal detachment,
but a less serious detachment. Or, as above, it may be the veins rather than
the arteries behind your eyes which are blocked. This will lead to slow damage rather than
rapid cell destruction. The cells may still be damaged, but the damage
could be more patchy and therefore less severe. However, the shadows may also get worse over
time. So it’s really important that you receive
treatment as soon as possible if this symptom develops. It can help to prevent a more serious detachment
from occurring, which could save your vision entirely. 8.You Develop a Blind Spot. Developing a blind spot is notal. This occurs when the photoreceptors (light-sensitive
cells) in the retina become damaged in a specific region of the eye. For example, this could be caused by physical
trauma which impacted one eye in a specific place. There will be no image recognition in the
area whatsoever. You should consult with an eye doctor as the
damage may be reversible if you’re lucky. But even if it isn’t, an ophthalmology professional
will help to ensure the damage doesn’t spread. They’ll also offer advice on any course
of action you can take to prevent further damage occurring in future. 9.Will I Feel Pain? Pain isn’t (always) a symptom of rl damage. And that’s really important. We’ve listed this question here as it’s
something which is often misunderstood about retinal detachment and damage. There is unlikely to be any pain from the
condition unless it was caused by a physical injury. Or if you have a painful infection of the
eye which is contributing to the damage. It’s important that you understand this. If your vision blurs, you see flashing lights
or experience other problems, everything is not necessarily fine just because you aren’t
in pain. Don’t risk it. Go and see an eye doctor as soon as you can. 10.Overall Decrease in Quality of VisionThis is the hardest to define, but alst obvious
symptom you might experience if you have retinal damage. If the quality of your vision suddenly gets
worse, you’ll notice and understand what we mean. If you lose any of your sight in any way,
or it gets worse for any reason, go and see a doctor. Symptoms 5-7 detail some of the most common
ways vision loss manifests itself, but these aren’t the only causes. It might not be retinal damage, but it could
be due to other serious eye conditions such as cataracts. Or inflammation of other parts of the eye,
such as the corneas. These also need to be treated, so that your
quality of life isn’t affected. Who is Most at Risk? While everyone should be on the lookout fose
tell-tale signs of retinal damage, certain groups of people are more likely to experience
the condition than others. If you have a family history of retinal detachment,
for example, you’re more likely to experience it yourself. Those who have had previous eye injuries,
diseases, or cataract surgery are also more at risk. As are people who are extremely nearsighted. If you fall into any of these groups, keep
an even closer guard on your eyesight. Visit an eye specialist the moment you notice
any of the above symptoms developing. Other Causes of Retinal Damage. Besides genetic causes, physical injury, and
diseases which cause retinal damage, there are a few other things which can cause the
condition. Some of these may surprise you, as they don’t
seem to immediately relate to the eye. However, they can all be the source of damage
to the retina: -Chronic stress. -Steroidal medication. -Drug misuse. -Heart disease. -Other circulatory issues. -Diabetes. -can cause diabetic retinopathy. Again, if you have a history of any of the
following and notice odd symptoms to do with your eyes, you should consult with a professional
eye doctor. Treatment for Retinal Damage. The first step to treating any retinal damage
is understanding what the precise nature of the damage is. We use a device called the Optos to create
a picture of the back of the eye. From this, we can discern the problem, or
problems, which have led to retinal damage. Once we have a better understanding of what’s
causing your symptoms, we can start putting together a course of treatment. Retinal surgery is often required in cases
of retinal detachment, as it’s necessary to physically intervene in these cases. Laser surgery and cryotherapy are common methods
to re-attach the retina back to the right place inside the eye. For diabetics experiencing diabetic retinopathy,
injections may be necessary, as well as surgery to remove blood from the eye. Careful management of your condition will
be arranged in conjunction with your physician, to help reduce the chances of the condition
becoming worse. How Timely Eye Care Can Help. Your sight is vital. Never put off a visit to your eye doctor. The earlier you come, the earlier we can help,
and the better the chance you’ll retain more of your vision. At Magruder Eye Institute, we have many specialists
who have devoted their lives to better understanding vision and retinal damage and working hard
to save the vision of their patients.

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