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Retinal dystrophy

What is it?

retinal dystrophy The retina is the thinnest component of the eye with a complex structure which allows to perceive light impulses. The retina coordinates the optic systems of the eye and the visual sections of the brain – it acquires and transmits information.

Retinal dystrophy is usually caused by disruptions in the vascular system of the eye. It is mostly aged people who suffer from this disorder as their vision gradually deteriorates. Dystrophy of the retina affects the photo receptor cells which ensure distance sight and colour perception. In its initial stages, retinal dystrophy may have no symptoms and quite often the patient does not even suspect of this dangerous disorder.

Retinal dystrophy may be of two types::

  1. Central and peripheral. Aggravated blood circulation in the myopic eye leads to reduction in the delivery of oxygen and nutritive substances to the retina which leads to various peripheral dystrophies of the retina.
  2. Innate (genetically conditioned) and acquired
    • “Age -related” dystrophy usually develops after the age of 60. This type of dystrophy may be combined with the development of cataract caused by the aging of the organism.
    • Pigment retinal dystrophy is caused by poor functioning of the photo receptors which provide crepuscular vision. This type of dystrophy is pretty rare and belongs to the category of genetic disorders.
    • White-dotted retinal dystrophy usually originates in childhood and develops with age. This is a genetic form of dystrophy.

The main causes of dystrophy of the retina

The causes of the development of dystrophy of the retina may vary but basically these are general diseases (diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diseases of the kidney and the adrenal gland) and also local ailments (myopia, uveitis), as well genetic predisposition.

Symptoms of retinal dystrophy

  • Reduced vision acuity.
  • Loss of peripheral vision and ability of orientation in a poorly illuminated space.

How to diagnose retinal dystrophy?

diagnostics of retinal dystrophyIn order to confirm or refute the diagnosis of “dystrophy of the retina,” it is necessary to undergo a comprehensive diagnostic testing of the visual system.
The Excimer Eye Clinic performs diagnostics with help of the latest computer-based equipment which provides a full picture of patient’s vision.

Diagnostic testing of patients with retinal dystrophy includes not only standard procedures but also:

  • testing of the fields of vision ;
  • electrophysiology testing to estimate the viability of the nervous cells in the retina and the optic nerve;
  • ultra-sonic testing of the interior structures of the eye – A-scanning, B-scanning;
  • measurement of intra-ocular pressure (tonometry);
  • examination of the eye fundus (ophthalmoscopy)

Treatment of peripheral dystrophies of the retina
by means of a laser (prophylaxis peripheral laser photocoagulation)

prophylaxis peripheral laser photocoagulation of retina

Very often dystrophic changes in the retina come with a medium and high myopia. The thing is that in this case the size of the eyeball increases and the retina which lines its internal surface expands, thus leading to dystrophy. The latest treatment method for this state and other types of dystrophy (many inflammatory and vascular disorders of the retina result in dystrophy) is based on the application of an argon laser. The main aim of this treatment is retinal consolidation.

The laser is a unique surgical instrument which has opened new abilities to ophthalmic surgeons. The treatment principle is based on the laser impact which results in sharp increase of the temperature and provokes coagulation of the tissue. This makes surgery a bloodless operation. The laser is an extremely precise instrument and is used to ensure an attachment of the retina to the uvea (i.e. consolidation of the retina). For the procedure a special lens with an antireflecting coating is placed onto the eye of the patient. This lens allows laser rays to fully penetrate into the eye. Laser light is transferred through special light guides and this enables the surgeon to control the course of the operation through a stereomicroscope, and focus the laser beam.

The main purpose of the PPLP (prophylaxis peripheral laser photocoagulation) is to minimize the risk of retinal detachment and not to improve the eyesight. A vision state after the operation depends on whether there are any concomitant eye disorders which may affect a vision quality. The main thing is not to delay the solution of the problem.

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