The Retina Unit

The retina is the thin layer in the inner eye, the area through which images are transferred from the eye to the brain via the optic nerve.

The Ophthalmology Department’s Retina Unit at Shaare Zedek treats all types of retina-related problems, including problems connected to diabetes, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and Epiretinal Membrane (ERM). The unit houses advanced equipment that enables precise and accurate diagnosis and comprehensive examination of all parts of the eye.

Preliminary Examination
To diagnose the state of the retina, we expand the pupil so we can observe everything happening beyond the front of the eye. The expansion substance causes blurriness for a few hours so you should take that into account when coming for the initial examination.

Common Retinal Problems
Macular Degeneration.
A state in which vital parts of the macula (the center of the retina, responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision) are damaged. This is the most common reason for sight loss in people over the age of 50. In a situation of “dry” degeneration, vitamins will be prescribed to prevent any worsening of the eye. When “wet” degeneration sets in to the macula, causing a severe loss of sight, we can treat the problem with injections into the eye. The substance injected is intended to halt the growth of the ‘bad’ blood cells causing the “wet” degeneration.

Macular Hole. A small break in the macula, which can cause blurred and distorted central vision. In most cases, we treat the problem with an operation, during which we remove the vitreous humor and fill the eye socket with a special gas that supports the edges of the hole and allows it to close. The gas dissipates within a couple of weeks and the hole closes itself naturally.

Diabetes. Complications in the retinal blood cells can cause a build-up of fluid in the macula. Treatment is via surgery or laser. Diabetes sufferers often suffer from the growth of new blood cells from the retina into the vitreous humor, which cause bleeding and stretching of the retina. Early diagnosis can preempt surgical intervention.

Bleeding in the Eye. Can be caused by diabetes or trauma. When there is unabsorbed bleeding within the eye, the patient will have to undergo surgery to remove the accumulated blood.

Retinal Detachment or Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). This problem usually appears in people over 50 or 60 following biochemical changes in the vitreous humor, the liquid that fills the eye socket. Sometimes, as a result of the liquid drying out, the humor shrivels up. Symptoms of this are usually seeing spots or blurry vision. When this happens, one should immediately go to an eye doctor for an examination. A small percentage of people experiencing these changes will suffer from retinal detachment or PVD. Early diagnosis allows for non-invasive laser treatment, while neglecting the problem can lead to retinal detachment and even loss of sight. In these situations, complex surgery is needed to repair the retina and put it back in place. We recommend avoiding too much physical activity until the problem is treated.

Epiretinal Membrane (ERM). A thin sheet of fibrous tissue that can develop on the surface of the macular area of the retina and cause a disturbance in vision. We recommend surgery to remove the tissue if it is causing a significant drop in vision.

Cataract Surgery Complications. On rare occasions during cataract surgery, the lens falls into the vitreous humor area. This requires another operation.