Take care of your retinas and watch for signs of retinal damage.
Proper retina care is essential for maintaining good vision health. The retinas are responsible for providing your brain with the information it needs to interpret the images you see. Your retinas convert light into signals that travel to the optic nerve and then to your brain, where the image is processed.
This small, powerful portion of the eye controls so much of our eyesight, yet retinal disease is one of the leading causes of blindness. Knowing how to take care of your retinas (plus knowing the red flags signaling an issue) will aid in early detection and safeguard your sight.
Warning Signs of Retina Problems
Sudden vision changes or changes that appear to creep up on you may indicate a problem with your retinas. These signs may include:
- Sudden or prolonged blurry vision
- Distorted vision
- Sudden eye floaters
- Flashes of light
- Difficulty seeing in dim light
- Reduced central or side vision
- Sensitivity to light
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or notice sudden changes in your vision, you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately.
Common Retinal Issues
- Retinal Detachment: Separation of the retina from the back wall of the eye caused by trauma, aging, or illness that can lead to permanent vision loss.
- Glaucoma: A group of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss and blindness if left untreated. It is usually caused by increased pressure inside the eye.
- Lattice Degeneration: Deterioration of the thin layer of tissues in the retina, often caused by age but can also be caused by other factors, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Uveitis: Inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the eye that contains blood vessels and pigment cells. It can be caused by infection or autoimmune disorders.
- Intraocular Tumors: Tumors that form in or around the eye, which can cause vision changes if left untreated.
- Infectious Retinitis: A retina inflammation caused by a bacterial or viral infection.
- Diabetic Retinopathy: Damage to the retina caused by diabetes, which can lead to reduced vision or even blindness.
- Central Serous Retinopathy: An eye condition in which fluid builds up under the retina and causes vision problems.
- Retinal Hemorrhage: Bleeding in the retina, which can be caused by trauma, disease, or a complication of diabetes.
- Hypertensive Retinopathy: Damage to the retina caused by high blood pressure.
- Macular Degeneration: A condition that causes damage to the macula, which is a small area of the eye responsible for sharp central vision.
How To Prevent Retina Damage
Retinal damage or disease can lead to severe vision loss. However, proper retina care will safeguard against forming retina-related eye conditions or help manage existing conditions.
Protect the Eyes from UV Rays
You must protect your eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses when outdoors. Ultraviolet rays can damage the eyes’ lens proteins, leading to cataracts and poor eyesight over time. According to the National Eye Institute, eyelid cancers are also linked to prolonged UV ray exposure.
Receive Regular Eye Exams
Contact your eye doctor to schedule routine dilated eye exams. During these exams, an ophthalmologist may use a special tool to examine the retinas more closely and identify and address any potential issues before they become a problem.
Be Mindful of Blue Light
Be mindful of the dangers of prolonged exposure to digital screens. Long exposure to blue light emitted from digital devices, including computer screens, tablets, and smartphones, can damage the retinas and lead to vision loss.
Per the NIH, this occurs as the blue light penetrates through the lens to the retina and causes retinal photochemical damage. For this reason, it is important to take breaks from digital screens and follow the 20-20-20 rule. This rule suggests that every 20 minutes, you look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Receive Retina Care at Louisiana Retina
By following these retina care steps and being aware of the warning signs of retinal damage, you will be taking active measures to prolong your vision health.
If you fear changes in your vision, visiting your ophthalmologist as soon as possible is necessary. An early diagnosis and treatment plan can help prevent permanent vision loss. Our board-certified ophthalmologists at Louisiana Retina specialize in retina care, diagnosis, and treatment. Please schedule an appointment today to speak to a specialist.