Unfortunately, taking care of our eyes is too often an afterthought. It's often not until something goes wrong, impairing our vision — or worse — that we seek help. Diseases of the retina (the light-sensitive lining in the back of your eye) are the leading cause of blindness in U.S. adults.
At Cleveland Clinic, we offer some of the most advanced diagnostic tests and treatment options for retinal care in the world. Our highly-skilled retinal specialists are dedicated to improving or restoring your eyesight. You can count on us to make your best possible vision our No. 1 priority.
Our providers are world-renowned for their expertise in diagnosing and treating all types of retinal diseases. Healthcare providers outside of Cleveland Clinic regularly consult with our retinal specialists and ask them to assist with complicated cases.
Innovation and research:
At Cleveland Clinic, our retinal team conducts leading, robust clinical research that focuses on retinal disease and the newest imaging technologies. Our specialists have helped develop new medications, laser treatments, imaging, surgical devices and procedures that are used worldwide. If you qualify, you’ll have access to the latest clinical trials, which offer innovative treatments before they’re widely available.
Our retinal team sees more than 45,000 patients and performs more than 1,200 surgeries each year, with some of the best clinical outcomes in the field.
At Cleveland Clinic, we collaborate with our eye care colleagues to offer you the most comprehensive treatment. If you need additional vision care, you’ll have access to our entire team of specialists and subspecialists who’ll work together to tailor a treatment plan that’s right for you. Meet our team.
Retinal Disease Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
A thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis is critical to receiving the appropriate treatment. During your first appointment, you'll typically meet with an ophthalmic technician and then a retina specialist and care team.
The ophthalmic technician will ask you for a detailed medical history, what medications you take and if you have allergies. You'll then be tested to determine how well you see at a distance and from the corners of your eyes (your peripheral vision). The technician will also check to see how your pupils (the black dots in the center of your eyes) react under various lights. Finally, your eyes will be dilated to prepare for your visit with the retina specialist.
The retina specialist will use non-invasive instruments to check for abnormalities in your eye, and specifically your retina.
Retinal disease diagnostic tests at Cleveland Clinic
During your visit, you might have some diagnostic tests to evaluate your retina, including:
- Spectral domain optical coherence tomography: This test takes a cross-section picture of your retina. The equipment will scan your eye without touching it. This test displays your retinal layers in great detail — and in the highest resolution.
- Fluorescein angiogram: This test takes a rapid series of photos (not X-rays) of your eye, while a small amount of dye is injected into your arm. The dye causes the blood vessels to stand out and shows if there are any changes to your retinal vessels.
- Indocyanine green angiogram: This test also involves injecting a dye into your arm, while a rapid series of photos (not X-rays) are taken of the choroid, which is the deeper layer of your eye just behind your retina. The dye causes the choroid blood vessels to stand out and shows if there are any changes to your choroid.
- Ultra-widefield fundus technology: This test offers a more detailed and enhanced view of your entire retina (including the edges of the retina) in just one image.
- B-scan ultrasound: The B-scan ultrasound is also called echography. It uses sound waves to bypass something that’s blocking a clear view of the back of your eye, like a cataract or blood in your eye (vitreous hemorrhage).
- Ophthalmic electrophysiology (including electroretinography, Electro-oculography and Visual evoked potentials: This series of tests goes beyond standard eye exams to measure how different parts of your eye and visual pathway respond to light. These tests can help diagnose eye conditions like inherited retina disorders.
- Intraoperative OCT: The surgeon uses this technology in the operating room to get real-time, high-resolution views of your retinal tissues.
Who Treat Retinal Disease
Retinal Disease Treatment at Cleveland Clinic
Our retinal specialists treat the full spectrum of retinal diseases. This ranges from common conditions like age-related macular degeneration or retinal detachment to rare ones like retinal inflammatory disease or retinitis pigmentosa. In addition, we treat:
- Central serous chorioretinopathy.
- Cystoid macular edema.
- Diabetes-related retinopathy.
- Macular hole.
- Macular pucker.
- Retinal vein occlusion.
- Posterior vitreous detachment.
- Retinoblastoma (eye cancer).
- Retinopathy of prematurity.
Since each condition is unique, your treatment will be, too. Whatever your diagnosis, your retinal specialist will offer you a personalized treatment plan, using the latest medications, the most advanced technology and innovative surgical procedures or laser therapies to ensure the very best outcome.
Taking the Next Step
Don’t wait until you start to have problems with your sight to give your eyes the attention they deserve. Having regular eye exams can uncover potential issues with your retina before they get worse. When something’s detected that needs a second look or treatment, reaching out as soon as possible to a trusted retinal disease expert is crucial to preserving your windows to the world.
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