Understanding the Retina

The retina is a neurosensory tissue that lines the inner aspect of the back wall of the eye. As light passes through the more anterior visual system (the cornea, the pupil, and the lens), rays are focused onto the retina. The retina converts the light rays into impulses that then travel through the optic nerve to the visual-processing portions of the brain. A healthy retina is critical to having clear vision. The macula is the central portion of the retina and is especially important for tasks such as reading.

The following symptoms may be concerning for an underlying retinal problem:

  • Distorted vision (i.e., lines that should appear straight look wavy)
  • Decreased vision, particularly near vision
  • A dark spot in the central portion of the vision
  • New flashes and/or floaters

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At Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons, our retina specialists treat a variety of retinal conditions including:

Your First Visit

Due to the specialized nature of retinal eye exams, please consider the following:

Your first visit will include a comprehensive examination and evaluation of your retina. This requires dilation of both of your eyes. Dilation of your pupils can result in blurred vision and sensitivity to light for a period of approximately four hours. You may wish to bring sunglasses with you and arrange to have someone drive you home after your office visit.

Prior to seeing the retina specialist, you will first meet with an experienced ophthalmic technician who will take your medical history, check vision, perform other screening tests, and administer drops to dilate your pupils. Please bring a list of your medications for us to review. It may be necessary to perform retinal photography such as an OCT or a fluorescein angiogram to assist in diagnosis and/or monitoring changes in your condition. This may require additional time in the office.

Following a diagnosis and a thorough explanation of your condition and treatment options, you may require medical treatment on your first visit for any urgent retinal conditions.

Your initial evaluation with our retina specialists may take one to two hours due to the complex nature of some retinal diseases. Subsequent visits may be significantly shorter depending on the time needed for the necessary diagnostic tests or treatments.

Retina Diagnosis

At Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons, we perform comprehensive dilated eye examinations.  We also offer the latest in-office diagnostic tests such as spectral domain OCT (optical coherence tomography), fundus autofluorescence, color photography, fluorescein angiography, and ultrasound of the eye. In-office procedures such as intravitreal injections and retinal laser surgeries are also routinely performed.

Meet our Retina Specialist

At Washington Eye Physicians and Surgeons, our retinal specialist is dedicated to helping patients with a variety of retinal problems and setting the standard for diagnosis and treatment of retinal disease.

Retina News

Understanding How the Retina Allows Us To See

The retina is the part of the eye that takes light and, along with the nervous system, transforms it into a meaningful scene. Learn about the retina and retinal care. Read More

The Importance of Eye Dilation Tests for Detecting Retinal Detachments

Retinal detachments are medical emergencies that can result in permanent blindness, and eye dilation tests are the best tool for detecting this serious problem. Read More