Retinal Detachment is a Medical Emergency

Do you see the light? You can thank your eyes’ retina for it. The retina is responsible for converting light from the outside world allowing us to see the world around us. Should the retina be lifted or pulled from its normal position, a retinal detachment will occur that can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria our team of skilled professionals is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal detachment.

In some cases there may only be small areas of the retina that are torn – a precursor of possible retinal detachment. Symptoms 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?

Although retinal detachment can occur at any age, it is more common 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

The good news is that various techniques are available to treat retinal tears and detachments ranging from laser therapy, freezing, or surgery. Depending on your particular case, we will recommend the best treatment option for you.

Optimal vision is our top priority

If you are experiencing symptoms, contact us 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 – Alexandria, 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.

Eye Trauma can Pose a Risk to Your Vision

Accidents are a part of life and when they happen, they can cause all manner of bodily harm. When the eye is suddenly hit, the trauma from the impact and damage that ensues can pose a risk to your vision. At the offices of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, our highly skilled and compassionate staff will work to ease your pain, evaluate the condition of your eye, and effectively treat the damage caused to it.

Trauma can take many forms, varying in severity from minor injury to medical emergencies. It’s important to note that even in cases where trauma seems minor, every eye injury should be given medical attention, especially if you develop any of the following symptoms:
 eye pain
 blurred vision
 cuts to the eyelid
 diminished eye movement
 eye protrusion
 blood in the clear part of the eye
 abnormal pupil size or shape
 a foreign object embedded in the eye

The best way to avoid eye trauma is to take simple precautions. We suggest using protective eyewear while doing things that may put them at risk – such as home repair, yard work, cleaning, cooking, and playing sports. In most cases of injury, people report not properly protecting their eyes – which is an indication of just how important taking the necessary precautions can be.

A trusted partner in care

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate eye care for a full spectrum of eye conditions. 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 – Alexandria, 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 – Alexandria, 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.

The Healing Power of Laser Therapy

Retinal diseases vary but they often share some common signs and symptoms, such as seeing “floaters,” “cobwebs” or flashes of light in your field of vision, or having blurry, distorted or even or reduced vision. All of these are warning signs that your eyesight may be in danger and medical attention is necessary.

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, our team of highly-skilled eye specialists is well equipped to diagnose and treat conditions of the retina, helping to restore or maintain healthy vision for our patients.

We can treat some common retinal conditions with a non-invasive procedure known as laser photocoagulation — where the heat of the laser works to seal the tear or destroy actively growing abnormal blood cells. The procedure can be successfully used on patients suffering from the following conditions and others:
— age-related macular degeneration: where the center of the retina begins to deteriorate
— macular edema: a build-up of fluid in the macula, an area in the center of the retina
— diabetic retinopathy: retinal damage as a result of poorly-controlled diabetes
— retinal vein occlusion: a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina
— retinal detachments: the back of the eye pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nutrients

After this relatively painless procedure, the surgeon may administer a topical steroid to prevent inflammation. Bed rest is usually recommended for the first few days, giving time for the eye to fully heal.

We’re committed to keeping an “eye” on you

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

Regular Eye Exams can Help Maintain Good Vision

The eyes are an essential part of our bodies, allowing us to see the world around us. It’s also the only part of the human body where a doctor can easily see a part of the central nervous system, the optic nerve and retina. That observation plays a crucial part of a comprehensive eye examination.

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, our skilled professionals provide the highest quality eye examinations in a relaxed, comfortable setting. Regular eye exams are important in determining such things as common eye diseases, whether you need glasses or contacts, and the general health of your eyes.

Comprehensive eye examinations involve tests your vision using an eye chart, and whether you need glasses or a change of prescription strength. They also involve dilation of the pupils of your eyes to increase their size. This allows us to see and evaluate the health of both the optic nerve and retina — critical to preventing and treating eye conditions that could potentially lead to vision loss.

Dilation helps us to detect a host of potentially serious eye diseases including 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) to name a few. Regular dilated eye exams play a key role in early detection of disease, making treatment more effective.

We make your vision our top priority

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

How a Macular Pucker can Affect Your Vision

Think of the macula as the “heart” of the eye’s retina, responsible for central vision, most color vision and the fine details of what we see. Like virtually every other body part, and macula is susceptible to disorders, such as when a thin layer of scar tissue forms over the macula, leading to a condition known as a macular pucker.

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, 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.

Macular pucker is most often the result of an injury or a medical condition, such as diabetes, that affects the eye. Some may form after eye surgery, but most develop as part of the natural aging process. While many macular puckers do not disrupt vision or cause blindness, thicker puckers can compromise vision and distort what you see, such as straight lines that appear as wavy lines, and the inability to distinguish fine detail.

Macular puckers usually heal on their own 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. Serious cases of macular pucker often involve medical intervention with an outpatient procedure to remove the scar tissue.

Your healthy vision is our top priority

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 – Alexandria, 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.

Coping with the Challenges of Low Vision

Eyesight is something most of us take for granted – until something happens to compromise it. When low vision sets in, everyday tasks like reading, shopping, cooking, writing, and watching TV suddenly become harder to do. Low vision is a common affliction, primarily for those over the age of 65.

As providers of experienced and compassionate care, the team of professionals at Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria understand how frustrating your condition can be. We’ll work to diagnose any underlying eye disease that may be contributing to your condition, and help you meet the challenges that low vision presents — such as recognizing the faces of family and friends, doing housework, reading traffic signs, or seeing clearly even with the lights on.

Low vision is usually caused by such eye conditions as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, eye injuries and birth defects. Regardless of the cause, lost vision cannot be restored, but it can be managed with proper treatment and vision rehabilitation.

The sooner vision loss or eye disease is detected, the greater your chances of keeping your remaining vision. If conventional methods such as glasses, contact lenses, medications or surgery have not worked, we will often recommend vision rehabilitation. These services may include eye examinations, a low vision evaluation, training on how to use visual and adaptive devices, support groups, and training on how to perform everyday activities in new ways. Our goal is to help you maintain as independent and as good a quality of life as possible.

A trusted partner in care

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

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Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes

Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep protect them and make sure you are seeing your best. The offices of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria is committed to your vision health and by following these tips, you can greatly decrease the risk of developing a host of eye complications:

  1. Have regular eye exams: Visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure your eyes are healthy. Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.
  2. Know your family’s eye health history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing a hereditary eye condition.
  3. Eat right. Research shows that there are real vision health benefits in eating certain foods such eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, (particularly carrots and dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens) and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, tuna, and halibut).
  4. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma.
  5. Quit smoking or never start. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.
  6. Wear your shades. Sunglasses help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  7. Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.

Your healthy vision is our top priority

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, 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.

Uncontrolled Diabetes Increases Risk of Certain Eye Complications

It’s no secret that diabetes opens the door to a host of serious health complications including those that affect the eye. At the offices of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, our team of highly-skilled eye specialists is well equipped to treat eye conditions associated with diabetes, helping to maintain the best possible vision for each of our patients.

In people with diabetes, too much blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels at the back inner wall of the eye (called the retina) or block them completely. This condition is diabetic retinopathy. Sometimes, tiny bulges protrude from the vessel walls, leaking or oozing fluid and blood into the retina. This fluid can cause swelling (edema) in the central part of the retina (macula). This is a serious eye complication called diabetic macular edema (DME) that can cause vision problems or blindness.

DME is the most common cause of vision loss in people with diabetic retinopathy. Poor blood sugar control and additional medical disorders, such as high blood pressure, increase the patient’s risk of blindness. DME can occur at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, although it is more likely to occur later as the disease progresses.

Traditional treatment for DME involves the use of a procedure called focal laser photocoagulation, which uses the heat from a laser to seal leaking blood vessels in the retina. More recent treatments involve drugs that are injected directly into the eye. These injections are usually given monthly for several months, as many injections are needed to control the leakage. Once the leakage is under control, continued monitoring is important.

Just how many injection treatments a particular patient will need will vary, but experience has shown that patients benefit most when they follow a consistent treatment regime, so starting treatment — and continuing with it — is very important to insure that your eyes and vision do as well as possible.

Committed to your vision health

At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, 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.

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Wet Macular Degeneration: A Less Common Form of Age-related Macular Degeneration

As people age, many people start having trouble with their eyesight. One of the most common conditions that affects them is AMD – age-related macular degeneration – the leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss in people over age 60.

At the offices of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, our team of highly-skilled eye specialists is well equipped to diagnose and treat AMD, helping to manage the condition, minimizing or even recovering vision loss for our patients.

AMD has two types: wet and dry. Wet macular degeneration is a chronic eye disorder that causes blurred vision or a blind spot in the visual field. It’s generally caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into the macula, the part of the eye’s retina responsible for central vision. Dry macular degeneration, which is due to the thinning of the macula, is more common but less severe.

Wet macular degeneration symptoms usually appear suddenly and worsen rapidly. Patients may experience visual distortions, reduced central vision, decreased color intensity, general haziness in overall vision and blind spots in their field of vision. Because macular degeneration doesn’t affect peripheral vision, it rarely causes total blindness.

No one knows the exact cause of wet macular degeneration, but the vision loss can develop as a result of the abnormal growth of new blood vessels that leak fluid or blood, interfering with the retina’s function; or it could be caused by fluid buildup in the back of the eye.

Factors that may increase your risk of macular degeneration include advancing age, a family history of the disease, smoking, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Committed to your vision health

Treatments for wet macular degeneration involve medications and therapies designed to slow disease progression, preserve existing vision and, if started early enough, recover some lost vision. At the office of Retina Group of Washington – Virginia – Alexandria, 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.