An elderly woman with diabetic retinopathy

The retina is the tissue on the back wall of the eye that captures the images that your eye sees, like film for the camera.

Some problems with the retina can lead to permanent vision loss. If you're having problems with your vision, it's important to see an ophthalmologist quickly for an exam.

University of Maryland Eye Associates has a team of retina specialists at locations throughout the state who are ready to diagnose your disease and work with you to develop a treatment plan to help preserve and enhance your eyesight. Call 667-214-1111 to make an appointment with our team.

Symptoms of Retinal Diseases

Retinal diseases that affect the macula, the central part of the retina, can affect the center of your vision. Symptoms you may notice include:

  • Distortion in people's faces
  • Things that should be straight look bent
  • Items you know should look small appear larger than normal

Warning signs for a retinal detachment include the following:

  • Eye floaters - dark spots in your vision or strings that look like cobwebs
  • “Curtain” covering peripheral vision - when your peripheral vision is limited
  • Light flashes

Some of these symptoms may develop slowly over time. If so, mention them at your annual eye exam. However, if any of these symptoms develop over a short period of time, call 667-214-1111 to make an appointment with our team.

Eye Floaters

Eventually, everyone will experience floaters, which may appear as dark spots in your vision or strings that look like cobwebs.

Floaters are more common in nearsighted people, though anyone can develop them. Floaters can be bothersome, especially when they move into the center of your vision, but they are not inherently harmful. However, when they appear suddenly, they could be a sign of a retinal tear or retinal detachment. Therefore, it is important to get a dilated eye exam when you notice a sudden onset of floaters.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a common cause of blindness for seniors. Macular degeneration affects the macula, which is the central part of the retina and responsible for central vision.

There are two broad types—dry and wet—and both require different approaches and have different treatments. Learn more about macular degeneration.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the main cause of blindness in working adults in the United States.

Patients with diabetes should see an ophthalmologist or optometrist for a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Learn more about diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment is when the retina is no longer attached to the back wall of the eye, causing vision loss. They often start as retinal tears and, if not treated quickly, can cause permanent loss of vision.

Retinal detachments are often treated with surgery and your doctor can help determine what approach is best suited for your eye.

Macular Hole

Macular holes are the result of a small break in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for central vision. Many macular holes form without an identifiable cause and there is currently no way to prevent them from forming.

Risk factors for macular holes include vitreous traction (that is, pulling of the gel on the macula), diabetes, and trauma.

Macular holes are repaired with vitrectomy. We remove the vitreous gel, which normally fills the eye and relieve any traction if it is present. This is done through fine instruments through three small incisions through the white part of the eye. A gas bubble is placed in the eye after surgery to support the retina and help the edges of the macular hole close as the eye heals.

Macular Edema

Macular edema occurs when tiny blood vessels in the retina begin to leak fluid, which causes swelling in the macula, the central part of the retina. Since the macula is responsible for central vision, this can make central vision blurry.

A common cause of macular edema is damage to the retinal blood vessels from diabetes. When caused by diabetes, it is called diabetic macular edema. It can also happen after eye surgery or in association with inflammation.

Treating macular edema usually starts with treating the disease that caused it. Depending on its cause, we will recommend the best treatment option for you, either eye drops or injections of medication or laser surgery.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment with a retina specialist, call 667-214-1111.

Retina Specialists

Albert S. Li, MD

Albert S. Li, MD

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Lisa S. Schocket, MD

Lisa S. Schocket, MD

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology