Information for Patients
The retina is a layer of tissue in the back of your eye that senses light and sends images to your brain. In the center of this nerve tissue is the macula. It provides the sharp, central vision needed for reading, driving and seeing fine detail.
Retinal disorders affect this vital tissue. They can affect your vision, and some can be serious enough to cause blindness. Examples are
- Macular degeneration - a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision
- Diabetic eye disease
- Retinal detachment - a medical emergency, when the retina is pulled away from the back of the eye
- Retinoblastoma - cancer of the retina. It is most common in young children.
- Macular pucker - scar tissue on the macula
- Macular hole - a small break in the macula that usually happens to people over 60
- Floaters - cobwebs or specks in your field of vision
NIH: National Eye Institute
Cone-rod dystrophy Cone-rod dystrophy is a group of related eye disorders that causes vision loss, which becomes more severe over time. These disorders affect the retina, which is the layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. In people with cone-rod dystrophy, vision loss occurs as the light-sensing cells of the retina gradually deteriorate.The first signs and symptoms of cone-rod dystrophy, which often occur in childhood, are usually decreased sharpness of vision (visual acuity) and increased sensitivity to light (photophobia). These features are typically followed by impaired color vision (dyschromatopsia), blind spots (scotomas) in the center of the visual field, and partial side (peripheral) vision loss. Over time, affected individuals develop night blindness and a worsening of their peripheral vision, which can limit independent mobility. Decreasing visual acuity makes reading increasingly difficult and most affected individuals are legally blind by mid-adulthood. As the condition progresses, individuals may develop involuntary eye movements (nystagmus).There are more than 30 types of cone-rod dystrophy, which are distinguished by their genetic cause and their pattern of inheritance: autosomal recessive, autosomal dominant, and X-linked. Additionally, cone-rod dystrophy can occur alone without any other signs and symptoms or it can occur as part of a syndrome that affects multiple parts of the body.
Fundus albipunctatus Fundus albipunctatus is an eye disorder characterized by an impaired ability to see in low light (night blindness) and the presence of whitish-yellow flecks in the retina, which is the specialized light-sensitive tissue in the inner lining of the back of the eye (the fundus). The flecks are detected during an eye examination.Individuals with fundus albipunctatus experience night blindness from an early age. In particular, they have delayed dark adaptation, which means they have trouble adapting from bright light to dark conditions, such as when driving into a dark tunnel on a sunny day. It often takes hours for adaptation to occur. Their vision in bright light is usually normal.The flecks are especially abundant near the outer edge (the periphery) of the retina. Their density varies among affected individuals; some people have numerous flecks that overlap, while others have fewer. For unknown reasons, the flecks get smaller or fade with age in some affected individuals, although night vision does not improve.While fundus albipunctatus typically does not worsen (progress) over time, some individuals with the condition develop other eye conditions, such as breakdown of the central region of the retina known as the macula (macular dystrophy) with loss of specialized light receptor cells called cones, which can affect vision in bright light.
Retinitis pigmentosa Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of related eye disorders that cause progressive vision loss. These disorders affect the retina, which is the layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. In people with retinitis pigmentosa, vision loss occurs as the light-sensing cells of the retina gradually deteriorate.The first sign of retinitis pigmentosa is usually a loss of night vision, which becomes apparent in childhood. Problems with night vision can make it difficult to navigate in low light. Later, the disease causes blind spots to develop in the side (peripheral) vision. Over time, these blind spots merge to produce tunnel vision. The disease progresses over years or decades to affect central vision, which is needed for detailed tasks such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces. In adulthood, many people with retinitis pigmentosa become legally blind.The signs and symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa are most often limited to vision loss. When the disorder occurs by itself, it is described as nonsyndromic. Researchers have identified several major types of nonsyndromic retinitis pigmentosa, which are usually distinguished by their pattern of inheritance: autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X-linked.Less commonly, retinitis pigmentosa occurs as part of syndromes that affect other organs and tissues in the body. These forms of the disease are described as syndromic. The most common form of syndromic retinitis pigmentosa is Usher syndrome, which is characterized by the combination of vision loss and hearing loss beginning early in life. Retinitis pigmentosa is also a feature of several other genetic syndromes, including Bardet-Biedl syndrome; Refsum disease; and neuropathy, ataxia, and retinitis pigmentosa (NARP).