Patient in retina exam to determine common retina conditions

How well do you know your retina? You may have heard the word before from your eye doctor, but do you really know how vital it is to your vision? Let’s take a look at why your retina is so important to your eye health and what conditions to look out for over time.

What is the retina?

The back of your eye contains a thin, light-sensitive layer known as the retina. Its main role is to convert light that enters your eye through the lens to electrical signals and pass them onto the brain. With light being a very crucial element to eyesight, any damage or illness that affects your retina could make it harder for your brain to process images, reducing your eyesight.

Dr. Ronald Milam, Jr., a CEENTA ophthalmologist and retina specialist who practices out of our SouthPark, Fort Mill, and Steele Creek offices, provides a thorough overview of this necessary part of the eye. “The retina is the neurosensory structure of the eye. It is directly vital to our vision and can be affected by a multitude of ocular and systemic diseases and conditions.”

What are common retina conditions?

Retinal issues can be common, especially as you age. They can occur from natural bodily processes to direct impact to the eye to other internal and external causes.


Floaters are dark spots or lines that appear in your vision. As the name implies, these strands of fluid “float” and create shadows on your retina. While harmless, floaters can be an indication of a more serious retinal disorder.

Retinal detachment

Your retina is connected to supportive tissue in the back of the eye. When they separate or detach from one another, it can create multiple floaters, flashes of light, and blurred vision. Although not as common as the other conditions, retinal detachment is an emergency that requires immediate attention to prevent further complications from happening.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes is well known for affecting energy levels, the extremities, and the kidneys. The condition can also cause vision issues by damaging blood vessels and nerves in the retina, otherwise known as diabetic retinopathy. Symptoms can vary from floaters to dark spots in your vision to partial or full vision loss.

Dr. Milam offers advice for patients who may be in the beginning stages of diabetes. “When it comes to protecting your eyesight from systemic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, a professional eye care provider needs to examine your eyes to screen for any problems that can be detected early before they start to cause vision loss.

Macular degeneration

Your retina contains a key part that is responsible for central vision called the macula. This part of the eye can degrade over time from general aging, but additional risk factors include obesity, smoking, cardiovascular disease, and sun exposure without proper eye protection. Regardless of the cause, macular degeneration creates blurry vision primarily when viewing straight ahead.

Retinal disease and damage may seem scary, but the right eye doctor will give you peace of mind. At CEENTA, our team of ophthalmologists and retina specialists can examine your retina and recommend treatment and management options to retain your vision. Schedule with Dr. Milam at our SouthPark, Fort Mill, and Steele Creek locations today by calling 704-295-3000.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. If you need an appointment with an eye doctor in one of our North or South Carolina locations, you can schedule appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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