We specialize in the medical and surgical treatment of disorders involving the retina, macula and vitreous. Conditions commonly evaluated and treated at our office include:
- retinal tears and detachments
- diabetic retinopathy
- macular degeneration
- ocular trauma
- ocular tumors
- inflammatory ocular conditions
- hereditary retinal diseases
- retinal vascular occlusive disorders
- and a variety of less common disorders
We utilize the most advanced, state-of-the-art techniques to provide the best treatment available today for vision threatening diseases.
At Retina Centers of Alabama we treat each patient as an individual. We strive to provide the type of care we would want for our own families. We believe that it is critical to put each patient at the center of his/her own care and treatment decisions. It is our goal to help each patient clearly understand his/her medical condition and what the treatment options can and cannot fix. Our intent is to address the questions and concerns of the patient, as well as the referring physician, and to that end we encourage open-ended dialogue throughout the process of treatment. We want the patient to feel welcome to ask as many questions and voice any concerns that that arise throughout the treatment process. We work hard to provide compassionate, personalized care in what are often complex situations.
Retina specialists treat a wide variety of eye conditions and diseases, working with both adults and children. They may work in both hospitals and clinics.
Retina specialists are highly trained. They must complete medical school and specialized training as an ophthalmologist, and then pursue additional vitreoretinal training. The full breadth of training for a retina specialist includes:
Medical School - 4 years
Internship - 1 year
Ophthalmology Residency - 3 years
Retina-Vitreous Fellowship - 1 or 2 years
The Foundation of the American Society of Retina Specialists is launching a comprehensive public awareness campaign to generate exposure for, and raise awareness about, the importance of treatment by a retina specialist for certain eye conditions. A major component of this campaign is this video entitled What Is a Retina Specialist?
Click on photo to watch video: What is a Retina Specialist?
Who needs to see a retina specialist? Does every patient with a retinal condition need to see a retina specialist?
Not always, but it depends. Some retina conditions can be effectively managed by doctors that are not retina specialists. However it is important to keep in mind that retina specialists strive to stay abreast of the newest treatment options and current developments in this area.
LASER SURGERY OF THE EYE
The word laser stands for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation." A laser is a concentrated beam of light, created when an electric current passes through a special material. The name and color of the laser depend on the type of special material that is used:
Argon gas - blue/green light
Krypton gas - red or yellow light
YAG (yttrium-aluminum-garnet) - invisible infrared light
Argon fluoride (excimer) - invisible ultraviolet light
Laser surgery in ophthalmology can successfully treat many types of eye disease.
There are two different ways that lases are used to treat eye diseases:
Thermal lasers (argon & krypton) convert the light to heat when it reachers the eye. The heat is used to seal blood vessels that are bleeding or leaking fluids, destroy abnormal tissue, bond the retina to the back of the eye, open the eye's filtration system for glaucoma, or creat an opening in the iris for treatment of the narrow-angle glaucoma.
Photodisruptive lasers (YAG and excimer) use light to cut or sculpt the tisue. The beam of light is used to cut thin membranes inside the eye that are blocking vision or change the shape of the eye's surface.
Laser surgery of the eye has several advantages:
- there is no risk of infection from the laser light
- laser surgery can be performed in an out-patient setting, allowing you to go
home shortly after the procedure is finshed
- the surgeon has great precision and control
Which eye diseases can be treated with laser surgery?
- Retina tears or holes
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Macular Degeneration
- Retinal Vein Occlusions
- Central serous retinopathy
LOW VISION - A closer look
Low vision is a loss of eyesight that makes everyday tasks difficult. A person with low vision may find it difficult or impossible to accomplish such activities as reading, wrtiting, shopping, watching television, driving a car, recognizing faces, and crossing the street. When vision cannot be improved with regular eyeglasses, medicine, or surgery, people with low vision need help to learn how to make the most of their remaining sight and keep their independence.
Low vision can be caused by eye injuries or disease such as:
- macular degeneration
- diabetic retinopathy
- retinitis pigmentosa
These conditions can occur at any age but are more common in older people. Normal aging of the eye does not lead to low vision, Regular medical eye exams by an ophthalmologist are important to diagnose eye diseases, treat those conditions that can be helped, and start the process of vision rehabilitation for people with low vision.
Vision rehabilitation can help people with low vision compensate for their vision loss, much as rehabilitation helps people with heart disease, arthritis, and stroke. You can learn new strategies to complete daily activities. By mastering new techniques and devices, you can regain confidence and live independently in spite of vision loss.
This can a challenging and frustrating period of adjustment - one that requires patience, practice, motivation, and the support of your family and friends. Yet the rewards can be invaulable: being able to function better in your daily life.
The amount of rehabilitation needed depends on your vision loss and what you want to be able to do.
A team approach is often best and may involve some or all of these professionals: ophthalmologist, low vision specialist, occupational therapist, rehabilitation teacher, orientation and mobility specialist, social worker, or counselor.
Many devices can help people with low vision make the most of their remaining vision and to function better and enhance their quality of life. Different devices may be needed for different tasks. Before purchasing a device, consider talking to a trained professional who can help you determine what will best meet your needs. Remember that you will need training and practice to become skilled at using any device.
Optical low vision devices use lenses to magnify objects, making them easier to see.
Magnifying spectacles are stronger thatn ordinary glasses. They can be used for near tasks such as reading, threading a needle, or any activity that requires close, detailed vision. Using them requires holding the printed page or object closer than usual in order to keep things in focus. With practice, this becomes comfortable. An advantage of magnifying spectacles is that the hands remain free to hold the reading material or perform tasks. Stand magnifiers rest directly on the reading material, keeping the lens at the proper distance fromthe page. Some stand magnifiers also have a built-in light. The ability to rest the magnifier on the page is useful to patients with a tremor or arthritis.
Hand magnifiers are available in varying strengths to suit different people and tasks. Reading material is not necessarily held as close to the face as with magnifiying spectacles. Some models come with a built-in light. High-quality and high-powered magnifiers are oftern available only in specialized stores or through vision rehabilitation professionals.
Vision rehabilitation services may be provided by doctors, hospitals, vision rehabilitation centers, and government and private agencies. Below is a list of organizations that may be able to offer resources.