This is the study of retinal diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy (infestation due to diabetes), hypertensive retinopathy (infestation due to high blood pressure) and age-related macular degeneration.
To study these disorders, special imaging techniques (namely OCT and Fluo-angiography) are used to make the structure of the retina, its blood vessels and blood supply more visible.
There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration. It is important to distinguish them so that a correct treatment can be set.
On the one hand there is the wet form, which arises when abnormal blood vessels start to grow under the yellow spot or macula. These blood vessels are fragile and leak fluid so that there is a swelling with even risk of scarring. This causes a rapid deterioration of vision and also a distortion of vision. An early diagnosis is essential to start treatment with intravitreal injections as soon as possible.
On the other hand, there is the dry form in which the light-sensitive cells in the macula gradually die off so that a slow reduction of the central vision occurs. This process is slow, often evolving over years with a slow reduction in central vision and more and more reading difficulties.
Medical Retina Examinations
Fluo – angiography
With this examination method, a special dye named fluorescein is injected into the arm via a vein, after which photographs are taken with a camera equipped with special filters to follow the fluorescein in the eye. In this way, we can easily and quickly highlight abnormalities in the blood vessels and also abnormalities in the retina.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a technique that allows the retina to be viewed in great detail using infrared light. Based on these measurements, important decisions can often be made about the treatment of patients with retinal disorders.
Laser coagulation of the retina aims to destroy the ingrowing bad blood vessels, at a distance from the macula, and thus reduce the oxygen need (the) of the retina. This treatment takes place under anaesthetic at the consultation. Often several sessions are recommended.
With an intravitreal injection, a very small amount of medicine is injected into the vitreous of the eye. This treatment is used for certain forms of diabetic retinopathy, wet form of age-related macular degeneration, swelling of the retina, thrombosis in the eye, etc. The medicine that is injected can be anti-inflammatory drugs (corticosteroids) or anti-vascular growth inhibitors (anti-VEGF), depending on the condition.
This procedure is performed under sterile conditions under anaesthetic and takes only a few minutes. After disinfection of the eye, a sterile cloth with an opening is placed over the head, a spear in the eye is placed to keep it open and then the injection is administered. After the injection you can go home. It is possible that after the intervention you will be able to see stains caused by the injected medicine, which will disappear within a few days.
It is important that after the injection you keep the eye well moist with artificial tears or eye ointments so that no corneal wounds occur. These are very painful and best prevented.