What is the Retina?
The retina is the innermost light-sensitive layer of the eye, which plays a huge role in visual clarity. It is similar to the film in a camera. Light striking the retina triggers nerve impulses which are transmitted via the optic nerve to the brain for visual processing.
Why do I need to have my retina checked?
It is necessary for every individual to have a detailed retina evaluation. This helps pick up any silent lesions in the periphery, which may go unnoticed otherwise, but rarely may cause drop in vision in certain circumstances.
How long does a retina check up take?
Typically, dilating drops are instilled into your eye after the preliminary check-up. These drops increase your pupillary size allowing for easy visualization of the entire retina. The drops take anywhere between 15-45minutes to start taking effect and produce blurring of vision. Their effect lasts for around 3-4 hours, during which near work and driving maybe difficult. Your Doctor will use an Indirect Ophthalmoscope to check the retina.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes slowly affects the eye producing a variety of changes in the retina e.g. hemorrhages (bleeding spots), exudates (areas of leakage) and neovascularization (formation of new vessels). In order to prevent this, the most important pre-requisite is to keep your blood sugar levels in control. Diabetic Retinopathy can be treated to prevent further damage to the retina. However, the retina cannot be cured or brought back to normalcy once damaged. Your Doctor may advise you Injections/ Lasers or Surgery based on the level of damage to the eye.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
As the name suggests, this is a degeneration of the central portion of the retina which is called the Macula. It typically affects central vision, but your peripheral vision may remain uninvolved. It has 2 types- Dry and Wet, based on the nature of the lesions. A retina check-up can help pick up early signs of ARMD, and thus prevent permanent visual loss. Often it may be familial/genetic.
Your Doctor may give you an Amsler Grid, which is a chart for self-assessment of the disease progression.