Types of Retinal Damage
The retina is a layer of light-sensitive tissue which lines the inside of the eye. When light passes through the lens and hits the retina electrical and chemical agents stimulate nerve impulses and send the message of what is being seen to the brain. The layers of the retina are composed of nerve cells just like the brain.
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- The outer neural layer which contains nerve cells and blood vessels;
- the photoreceptor layer which is a single layer containing the light sensing rods and cones;
- a pigmented retinal epithelium (RPE), with the bruch's membrane separating the RPE from the choroid layer; and
- the choroid layer, consisting of connective tissue and very fine capillaries known as choriocapillaries. The tiny capillaries are responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to the the cellular layers above them.
- Certain nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vinpocetine, l-lysine, bilberry, taurine, alpha lipoic acid, lycopene, and a number of vitamins and enzymes and fish oil support the health of these retinal layers.
Symptoms & Effects
The early effects of retinal damage may or may not display noticeable changes in vision. If the damage is near the macula, one could notice various visual effects such as general poor vision, distortion of images such as straight lines appearing wavy, blurry spots in one's central vision, and/or "jack in the box" vision with images appearing and disappearing.
- Dim central vision
- Distorted central vision
- Straight lines that appear wavy
- Spots in the central vision that may appear blurry or dark
- Images that appear then disappear
Causes of Retinal Damage
- Conditions that run genetically in families
- Chronic tress
- Steroids and other damaging drugs.
- Elevated blood sugar (such as in pre-diabetes and diabetes).
- Chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease.
- Heart disease/poor circulation/high blood pressure
- Chronic digestive issues
- Other health conditions such as kidney disease, certain bacteria
- Other vision conditions such as macular degeneration or myopia, or retinitis pigmentosa.
- Trauma or injury to the eye
- Lack of oxygen to the eye due to poor circulation or too tight contact lens
- Damage to photoreceptors in the retina
- Damage due to changes in sugar balance
- Damage due to changes in connective tissue
- Some vision conditions are worsened by vitamin A
- Also see macular degeneration
- Best's disease
- Central serous choroidopathy (CSR)
- Choroidal neovascularization
- Lattice degeneration
- Usher syndrome
- Macular degeneration