The retina and vitreous humor are structures deep within the eye that make vision possible. Problems affecting these areas are serious medical conditions that can lead to blindness, but there’s hope.
Our team of experts delivers specialized care when you need it most. People from across South Carolina come to us because of our reputation for successfully treating rare and complex retina conditions.
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To request more information about our services, please call 843-792-2020. You can also learn more about MUSC Health Storm Eye Institute, including our team of doctors and locations.
Retina & Vitreous Humor Conditions: Why Choose Storm Eye Institute?
We are one of the few programs in the Lowcountry offering access to the latest surgical and nonsurgical treatments. From age-related macular degeneration to retinal detachment, we deliver expert care for a broad range of conditions.
Highlights of our program include:
- Highly skilled team: All of our retina specialists have completed several years of additional, specialized training (fellowships) in diseases affecting the retina and vitreous humor. This level of training is why eye experts from across South Carolina and their patients put their trust in our program.
- Complete eye cancer care: Our retina specialists have special training in treating tumors in and near the retina. Our expertise means you can get an accurate diagnosis and receive treatments under one roof. Find out more about eye cancer.
- Latest treatments: We offer nonsurgical treatments, including recently approved medications, for macular degeneration. You also have access to therapies such as photocoagulation, which help us treat complex problems with a high degree of precision.
- Specialized care for children: We are one of the few programs in South Carolina using hand-held diagnostic imaging devices. These devices help us quickly get to the source of retina problems without having to put your child to sleep. Find out more about pediatric ophthalmology.
What Are Retina & Vitreous Humor Conditions?
Your retina is a structure in the back of the eye made up of light-sensitive tissue. This tissue sends images to your brain to help you see. The vitreous humor is a clear, gel-like fluid that fills the space between the retina and the lens. This fluid holds the retina in place.
Conditions affecting the retina and vitreous humor include:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): The macula is a part of the retina that helps you see clearly. AMD occurs when the macula starts breaking down, often in people over age 50.
- Diabetic retinopathy: High blood sugar levels from diabetes can cause swelling in the blood vessels of the retina. This swelling can damage the retina.
- Flashes: When the vitreous humor rubs against the retina, it causes a brief flash of light in your field of vision.
- Floaters: Sometimes the gel of the vitreous humor forms clumps that drift in your field of vision. “Floaters” are often harmless but can be bothersome.
- Retinal tears and detachments: These conditions happen when the retina breaks away from nearby supportive tissue. Retinal tears and detachments are true medical emergencies requiring immediate care.
- Retinitis pigmentosa: This rare condition happens when the cells of the retina start breaking down. As an inherited condition, retinitis pigmentosa is passed down in families.
- Retinoblastoma: This form of eye cancer happens when abnormal cells start growing in the retina. Learn more about eye cancer.
Diagnostic Testing for Retina & Vitreous Conditions
Early diagnosis gives you the best possible chance of preserving your vision. At Storm Eye, you have access to a wide range of advanced tests, some of which are not widely available. These tests ensure an accurate diagnosis so you can get the care you need as quickly as possible.
Diagnostic tests available at Storm Eye include:
- Electroretinogram (ERG): This test measures electrical activity in the retina. ERGs help us determine how well the retina is functioning.
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT): This imaging test uses light waves to examine your retina layer by layer.
- Retinal angiography: We use wide-angle imaging technology to examine the complex network of blood vessels in your retina.
- Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to produce images of the vitreous humor. We use ultrasound to check for abnormal substances, like blood, that should not be in the vitreous humor.
- Wide-angle imaging: Using a special camera, we capture wide-angle photos of hard-to-reach areas in the back of the eye. These images help us examine the health of structures in ways that are otherwise impossible.
Retina & Vitreous Condition Treatments
Our experts tailor treatment plans to meet your unique medical needs and personal preferences. We take time to explain your options, which may include nonsurgical treatments and laser therapy.
Your treatment may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication: We prescribe eye drops or medications taken by mouth to relieve swelling in conditions such as uveitis.
- Injectable medications: At Storm Eye, you have access to the latest FDA-approved medications, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs. We inject these medications directly into the vitreous humor to slow the progression of macular degeneration.
- Surgical repair: We use the best available equipment, including special instruments that allow us to safely access hard-to-reach areas of the retina. We are skilled in making complex repairs, such as removing scar tissue and fixing holes.
Laser Treatments for Retina & Vitreous Humor Conditions
The retina and vitreous humor are structures deep within the eye. Laser treatments help us accurately target and treat conditions affecting these areas. Doing so can preserve your eyesight.
Laser treatments for retina and vitreous humor conditions include:
- Photodynamic therapy: This treatment uses low power (cold) laser beams to seal abnormal or leaking blood vessels. We also use photodynamic therapy to treat eye cancer.
- Photocoagulation: We use strong laser beams to seal abnormal blood vessels. This treatment can also slow the development of abnormal vessels in the retina