The retina is the thin, light sensitive tissue that lines the inside of the back of the eye. We experience “seeing” because of the retina, as it transforms images into signals that get sent along the optic nerve to the brain.

There are several issues that can occur in the retina:

The blood vessels that nourish the retina may become blocked, causing reduced vision. If these blood vessels become leaky, such as in diabetes, fluid can leak into the retina causing thickening. This may not cause any symptoms until the damage is advanced.

The central part of the retina, the macula, is specialised for our central, detailed vision. It can be affected by “wear and tear” with age. In fact, the leading cause of visual loss in Western countries is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Until a few years ago this condition was largely untreatable but now many patients benefit from a range of treatments to prevent and treat vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration.

Tears or breaks may occur in the retinal tissue, and can lead to loosening (detachment) of the retina, resulting in vision loss. This condition must be treated urgently to prevent blindness. Any person experiencing flashing lights, floaters, or a sudden loss of vision should be seen promptly by their ophthalmologist.