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Medical retina

Specialised services for the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the retina

The retina is an area of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. It converts light rays into signals that travel along the optic nerve where our brain converts them into images.

Our medical retina service specialises in assessing, monitoring, and treating conditions affecting the retina.

If you are living with a condition that affects your retina or have symptoms that point towards retinal problems, call or book online today to discuss our private medical retina service with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

This page explains what medical retina is, what conditions our medical retina service can treat, and what treatments are available.

Medical retina treats a range of diseases of the retina including:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a condition where there is damage to the macula (the part of the retina that controls straight-ahead vision) It causes blurred central vision. It is the most common cause of vision loss in older adults. One type of AMD called dry AMD progresses slowly, while the other, known as wet AMD, needs urgent treatment.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that can affect people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina and can lead to vision loss and blindness if not diagnosed and treated early.

Retinal vein occlusion

Blockage (occlusion) in one of the veins that supply the retina can cause a sudden reduction in vision. It is most common in people over the age of sixty.

Retinal tears and detached retina

A detached retina occurs when the retina is pulled away from its normal position at the back of the eye. It can occur for several reasons, most commonly ageing, or injury to your eye. Retinal detachment is an emergency and requires immediate treatment to prevent permanent vision loss (blindness).

Retinal tears are tears or holes in the retina that can lead to retinal detachment if left untreated.

Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs)

Inherited retinal diseases are rare eye diseases that occur due to defective genes. They can affect people of any age and often get worse over time. The most common IRDs include retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt disease, choroideremia, Leber congenital amaurosis, and cone-rod dystrophy.

Your specialist eye doctor will discuss your symptoms and diagnosis with you before conducting an in-depth analysis of your condition. They will then decide which tests you need according to your symptoms, medical history, and diagnosis. These may include:

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Fluorescein angiography
  • Fundus photography
  • Indocyanine green angiography

Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

This is a non-invasive test that uses light waves to take cross-section images of your retina. It allows your consultant to examine and measure the thickness of each layer of your retina. OCT can be used to diagnose AMD and diabetic retinopathy.

Fluorescein angiography

This test allows your consultant to examine the blood vessels that supply your retina. Before the test, you are given eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil. A special dye is then injected into a vein and photographs are taken with a special camera to check the movement of the dye through the blood vessels. Fluorescein angiography can be used to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, AMD, or blockages in the blood vessels that supply the retina. It can also be used to monitor known eye diseases or identify areas to be treated.

Fundus photography

After administering eye drops to dilate your pupil, your consultant will take a series of photographs of the inside of your eye using a special camera called a fundus camera. Fundus photography allows your consultant to examine the layers of the retina in detail and diagnose a number of conditions including diabetic retinopathy, AMD, congenital eye abnormalities and glaucoma.

Indocyanine green angiography (ICG)

This procedure allows your consultant to examine the choroid, the layer of blood vessels beneath the retina. After your pupils have been dilated with eye drops, a special dye is injected into a vein and photographs are taken of the dye as it passes through the blood vessels. ICG is used to detect a range of conditions affecting the blood supply to the choroid and retina, including severe, or advanced AMD.

There are several treatments available for retinal disease. Which treatment is right for you will depend on your diagnosis, symptoms, general health, and medical history.

Treatments may include:

  • Medication such as tablets or eye drops
  • Laser eye surgery
  • Surgery to repair a detached or torn retina

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant ophthalmologist, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the eye.

Your consultant will ask you about your symptoms, general health, and medical history, and perform a full eye examination. They may ask you to perform some tasks so that they can assess your central (inner) and peripheral (outer) vision.

Depending on your initial examination, your consultant may order one or more of the tests described above. Diagnosis is made using a combination of your symptoms, medical history and the results of your eye examination and tests.

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and encourage you to ask any questions you may have. Make sure you know the name of the condition you are diagnosed with, and what your diagnosis means. Ask as many questions as you like and write down the name of the condition if you need to.

After making a diagnosis, your consultant will talk you through all the available treatment options and together you'll decide on the best treatment for you.

We answer some of your most commonly asked questions about medical retina.

What conditions does the medical retina service treat?

Our medical retina service can diagnose several conditions affecting the retina. The most common conditions we treat include age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, retinal tears or detachment, retinal occlusion, and inherited retinal diseases.

How long does medical retina treatment take?

How long your appointment lasts depends on what tests are carried out during your medical retina appointment and what treatments you have. Most treatments take between 20 and 40 minutes, longer if both eyes are treated at the same time. You should allow plenty of time for your medical retina appointment.

Are there any risks and complications of medical retina treatment?

Medical retina treatment is generally very safe, but like any medical procedure, there may be a small risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications to you before your treatment so that you can make an informed decision.

What are the signs of retinal problems?

Symptoms of retinal problems vary depending on the condition you have. Some conditions such as diabetic retinopathy have mild or no symptoms in the early stages, so it's important to have your eyes checked regularly.

Some common symptoms of retinal problems include:

  • Changes in your vision
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Reduced central vision
  • Reduced peripheral vision
  • Difficulty differentiating colours
  • Poor vision in low light
  • Floaters in your field of vision
  • Sudden loss of vision

Can retinal damage be cured?

Most retinal damage can be corrected if diagnosed and treated early. Untreated retinal problems are unlikely to get better without treatment and may result in permanent loss of sight.

If you experience changes to your vision or are diagnosed with retinal disease, make an appointment with an eye specialist as soon as possible.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about medical retina, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in April 2023. Next review due April 2026.

  1. Medical retina, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
  2. Medical retina, The College of Optometrists
  3. Medical retina, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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