Genetic Testing Helps Identify People who are at High Risk for AMD

People of all ages — particularly those age 60 and older — should have an annual eye exam that includes dilation of pupils to detect for signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although it’s considered an incurable eye disease, certain treatments for AMD may delay its progression and help prevent severe vision loss.

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling our team of skilled professionals is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of macular degeneration — a condition seen most frequently in older adults, where damage occurs to the light sensing cells of the macula, the small area at the center of the eye’s retina responsible for most of our central vision.

Personalized medicine has become a trend in many facets of health care, from oncology to cardiology, and genetic testing for AMD signals its foray into eye care. Personalized medicine is the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics.

One of the most effective diagnostic tools we offer is Macula Risk® PGx, a simple DNA test performed by rubbing a cotton swab on the inside of the patient’s cheek to help identify people who are at high risk for AMD progression. These high risk patients are then monitored regularly and given the appropriate eye therapy for maximum vision preservation based on the their specific genetic profile. Macula Risk® PGx offers the benefits of earlier detection, earlier treatment and better visual outcomes.

Our commitment to your vision

If you are experiencing symptoms of AMD, contact us immediately. At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate eye care. For more information on Macula Risk® PGx and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

Regular Eye Checkups for Glaucoma can Save Your Vision

It is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over 60: glaucoma. The condition works to damage the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain and is vital for good vision. Glaucoma poses a threat to your vision, resulting from prolonged high eye pressure that can ultimately lead to permanent vision loss.

It’s important to get regular eye checkups for early detection and treatment of glaucoma before long-term vision loss happens. At the offices of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, our team of highly-skilled eye specialists will handle your case with care, with regular testing and treatments designed to maintain or restore your healthy vision.

Most patients with glaucoma do not notice any symptoms at first, until they have lost some of their peripheral (side) vision. Often, this is not recognized by the patient until the disease has progressed, and can be accompanied by:
• Eye pain
• Blind spots in your side or central vision
• Redness in the eye
• The vision in one or both eyes appearing hazy
• Seeing halos around lights
• Narrowing of vision (tunnel vision)

Because vision loss due to glaucoma can’t be recovered, the importance of regular eye exams can’t be stressed enough. Treatment for glaucoma aims to lower eye pressure using prescription eyedrops, oral medications, laser treatment, surgery or a combination of any of these.

Committed to your vision health

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate eye care for a wide range of conditions, including glaucoma. For more information on our office and the many services we provide, give us a call today.

When to See a Retina Specialist

The retina is one of the most important parts of the human eye. This layer tiny blood vessels at the back inner wall of the eye is responsible for making vision possible. Because of its importance, the field of retina care has changed greatly over the past two decades and continues to evolve very rapidly to better serve patients.

Optometrists do not typically provide treatment for retinal diseases. General ophthalmologists may choose to provide treatment for some conditions, but more complex retinal cases need the expertise of dedicated specialists, such as the professionals at Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling. We are experts in treating conditions of the retina, helping to maintain the best possible vision for each of our patients.

Retinal specialists treat a wide range of serious, vision-threatening conditions such as:
• Diabetic retinopathy
• Macular degeneration
• Retinal tears/detachments
• Vascular diseases of the retina
• Serious eye injuries
• Eye tumors
• Problems/complications following surgery performed by general ophthalmologists (most commonly cataract surgery)

Depending on the condition, retinal specialists will treat patients with one or a combination of therapies — such as laser treatment, injection medications into the eye, and/or surgical procedures. While treatments will vary based on each patient’s unique characteristics, the large majority of procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, either in the office or a hospital setting.

Most patients who are seen by retinal specialists are referred by an optometrist or a general ophthalmologist. In some cases where patients have a pre-existing retinal condition, they may seek out retina specialists directly. Typically, retinal treatments are coordinated with the patient’s primary eye care provider and primary care physician.

Your healthy vision is our top priority

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate retinal eye care. For more information on our office and the many services we provide, give us a call today.

Blurry Vision in One Eye Can Signal Trouble with Your Retina

Many things can affect your vision – compromising your ability to see clearly. Central serous retinopathy is a medical condition where fluid builds up behind the retina in the eye. It can cause sudden or gradual vision loss as the central retina (macula) detaches.

At the offices of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, our team of highly-skilled eye professionals is well equipped to diagnose and treat CSC, helping to manage the condition and to restore healthy vision for our patients.

CSC most often occurs in young and middle-aged adults and men tend to develop the condition more commonly than women. Vision loss is usually temporary but sometimes can become chronic or recur.

While blurry central vision in one eye is the most common symptom, others include reduced night vision, reduced ability to distinguish between colors and an impaired ability to discern fine detail – like reading and recognizing faces.

CSC typically resolves on its own within a few weeks to months. For chronic sufferers, the condition can lead to long-term vision difficulties, which is why medical intervention is recommended. There are several treatments used for the condition, including thermal or cold laser treatments, oral medications, and eye injections. Early detection of CSC is very helpful, and most eyes with CSC can be treated successfully to avoid permanent vision loss.

Your healthy vision is our top priority

You should always report any changes in your vision to your eye doctor especially if you experience any loss of vision or sudden changes. At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled retinal eye care. For more information on our office and the many services we provide, give us a call today.

Understanding Common Conditions of the Retina

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of disorders affecting the health and quality of your vision. One of the most important parts of the eye is the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that allows us to see. Being aware of conditions that can affect it might just save your vision in the future.

  • Macular Degeneration: Occurs when the macula begins to break down causing blind spots in your central vision.
    • Symptoms include blurred or “fuzzy” vision central vision, difficulty reading or seeing details, straight lines that appear distorted to you.
  • Retinal Detachment: Occurs when the retina lifts off the back wall of the eye, stopping the flow of blood and oxygen to the retina, resulting in cells dying off. A retinal detachment should be treated as a medical emergency.
    • Symptoms include a sudden increase in floaters (spots in your field of vision), flashes of light, as well as a darkening of peripheral (side) vision.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Occurs when uncontrolled blood sugar levels damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina.
    • Symptoms include floaters, blurred vision, impaired color vision, and vision loss.
  • Glaucoma: Occurs from damage to optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, most often caused by abnormally high eye pressure
    • Symptoms include eye pain, blind spots in the peripheral or central vision, blurred vision, and eye redness.

You should always report any changes in your vision to your eye doctor especially if you experience any loss of vision or sudden changes. At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, our top priority is your good vision health and we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled retinal eye care. For more information on our office and the many services we provide, give us a call today.

Intravitreal Injections: A Simple Yet Powerful Way to Treat Some Retinal Conditions

The retina is one of the most essential parts of the eye – the part of the eye that allows us to actually see — and take in the world around us. There are many conditions that can affect the retina, which can compromise vision. Fortunately, some can be successfully treated with a procedure called an intravitreal injection.

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling our team of skilled professionals will carefully evaluate your eye condition, listen to your concerns and treat you with the utmost care. After testing, we will be able to determine if you have a condition that can be treated with an intravitreal injection — a procedure to place a medication directly into the space in the back of the eye.

Intravitreal injections are used to administer medications such as steroids, antibiotics, and antifungals to treat a variety of retinal conditions that share a common characteristic: fluid leakage. They include age-related macular degeneration (when the eye’s macula begins to break down causing blind spots in your central vision), diabetic retinopathy (when uncontrolled blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels of the retina); and retinal vein occlusion (a blockage of blood flow in one of the retinal veins.)

We perform intravitreal injections in our office setting, doing our utmost to keep you comfortable and informed throughout the procedure. We anesthetize the eye so the procedure doesn’t hurt, and during the injection itself, you may feel some pressure, but little or no pain. The entire process takes just a few minutes.

Committed to healthy vision

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled retinal eye care. For more information on our office and the many services we provide, give us a call today.

Visual Distortions May Signal a Macular Pucker

The macula is responsible for central vision, which is the sharp, straight-ahead vision we need for reading, driving, and seeing fine detail. As we age, a thin layer of scar tissue may form over the macula, a condition known as a macular pucker.

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a host of retinal conditions including macular pucker, helping to restore or maintain healthy vision and a high quality of life for all our patients.

While aging is the most common cause of macular pucker, other factors can contribute to it including some medical conditions (like diabetes), eye surgery and eye injury. Macular puckers are not a serious condition that affect vision or cause blindness, but they can be troublesome –things can look wavy, or you may have trouble seeing details. You might notice a gray or cloudy area in your central vision, or may even have a blank spot in your central vision.

Macular puckers usually heal with time and do not cause serious problems with vision. Nevertheless, we recommend regular eye examinations so we can monitor your condition to ensure the condition hasn’t gotten worse. If you have mild symptoms, we may change your glasses or contact lens prescription improve your vision. Serious cases of macular pucker often involve medical intervention with an outpatient procedure to remove the scar tissue.

Our commitment is to your healthy vision

The main goals of retinal treatment are to stop or slow disease progression and preserve your vision. At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate eye care. For more information on our office and the many services we provide, give us a call today.

Dealing with the Effects of Diabetic Retinopathy

People with diabetes are well aware of the effects the condition can have on the body. Uncontrolled diabetes can wreak havoc on almost all systems in the body – including the eyes.

One of the most common conditions that can develop is called diabetic retinopathy – damage to the blood vessels in the eye’s retina due to high blood sugar levels. At the offices of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling our team of skilled professionals is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy, helping patients to preserve good eyesight and effectively manage the condition.

The retina, a small patch of tissue that lines the back of the eye, is responsible for turning light into signals for the brain. In short, the retina is an essential part of vision. As diabetic retinopathy progresses, the tiny blood vessels on the retina begin to swell and leak fluid and blood. This fluid leaks into the eye cavity, obscuring vision. Eventually, new abnormal blood vessels begin to grow on the retina. These new blood vessels are fragile and leak easily, compounding the issue.

Diabetic retinopathy: possible warning signs
• Spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters)
• Blurred vision.
• Fluctuating vision.
• Impaired color vision.
• Dark or empty areas in your vision.
• Vision loss.

Treatments for diabetic retinopathy vary from patient to patient depending on the severity of the condition, but usually include a combination of medications, injectable medicines and laser surgery. In addition to these treatments, diabetic patients are encouraged to get their blood sugar under control. Treatments can only go so far if the root problem is not being addressed.

Your healthy vision is our top priority

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, our diabetic eye disease experts are here to help you maintain the best vision possible. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

Know the Risk Factors for Retinal Detachment

The retina serves as the crucial translator for your sight. It converts light from the outside world into nerve signals in the brain. Unless this transformation happens, the light focused on the eyes would be useless for navigating our environment.

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is lifted or pulled from its normal position — a serious condition that can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. At the offices of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling our team of skilled professionals is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal detachment.

Sometimes, small areas of the retina are torn. Called retinal tears or retinal breaks, they can ultimately lead to retinal detachment. Knowing the symptoms can be a warning of this occurrence, and include a sudden or gradual increase in either the number of floaters (little “cobwebs” or specks that float about in your field of vision), light flashes in the eye, and a darkening of peripheral vision.

Are you at risk?

A retinal detachment can occur at any age, but commonly in people over age 40, affecting more men than women. The condition is more likely to occur in people who:
• are extremely nearsighted
• have had a retinal detachment in the other eye
• have a family history of retinal detachment
• have had cataract surgery
• have other eye diseases or disorders
• have had eye injury

Small holes and tears of retinal detachment are treated with laser surgery or a freeze treatment called cryopexy, both of which can be performed in the doctor’s office. It is crucial to heed these warning signs, for delaying treatment can cause permanent blindness in the affected eye, when the retina cannot be re-attached.

Your healthy vision is our top priority

Retinal detachment is a medical emergency. If you are experiencing symptoms, see an eye care professional immediately. Regular eye exams can also flag early changes in your eyes that can prevent future problems. At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate eye care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

The Importance of Retina Specialists in Treating Children’s Eye Diseases

Children experience a variety of eye problems that often require unique treatment, as a child’s eye and general vision are still developing up until age nine. At the offices of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, our skilled professionals are trained in diagnosing and treating ocular disorders in children of all ages, from newborn babies to teenagers.

One of the most serious of conditions is retinal disorder, which occurs when the retina malfunctions. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue on the inside and back of the eye. Vision originates in the retina, which contains photoreceptor cells that convert light into electrical impulses. These impulses are the visual information or “pictures” that travel to the brain via the optic nerve. Most retinal disorders involve a disruption in the transmission of these impulses.

Signs your child may have a retinal disorder:
• a white pupil
• a loss or partial loss of vision
• night blindness
• black “floaters” in vision
• sudden, persistent flashing lights
• an intolerance of light

Accurate diagnosis is made through a full ophthalmologic examination that may involve an ultrasound of the eye, visual field tests, CT cans and other imaging techniques. Treatment of retinal disorders varies widely, depending on the type. Some of the most common include: retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) a disorder that occurs in premature infants resulting in blood vessels that grow out of control along the retina; uveitis, a form of eye inflammation; congenital malformations of the optic nerve and retina; juvenile retinal detachment; and juvenile retinoschisis, a degenerative retinal disorder.

Committed to maintaining good eye health

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Sterling, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate eye care for your child. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.