When to see a Retinal Specialist and where to find one in Melbourne
If an optometrist suspects his/her patient of suffering from a form of retinal problem, often a referral to a retinal specialist will be advised. If you’ve been referred to a retinal specialist in Melbourne, Northern Eye Centre is available for appointments and welcome new referrals from optometrists, general practitioners and other health professionals.
There are many reasons why you may be referred, and here we’ve compiled a list of three of the most common reasons for referral.
An epiretinal membrane is caused by the formation of a thin layer of fibrous tissue on the macula, which obscures the vision. Generally, an epiretinal membrane will not cause blindness and only affect the central vision; however, in some cases the membrane may worsen over time, causing blindness and distortion to your central vision. When mild, an epiretinal membrane may not require treatment; however, it is important to seek the opinion of a specialist. If deemed serious or if there is a risk of the membrane worsening, then referral to a retinal specialist may be necessary to remove the membrane via surgery.
Retinal Tear and Detachment
The eye is naturally filled with a clear vitreous gel; sometimes when changes occur in the composition of this gel, it can contract and cause pulling on the retina. Most of the time, when this happens, the retina separates completely, and the patient will notice spots or lines moving across their vision (called floaters). In some cases, the vitreous pulling on the retina will create a retinal tear just like a cut in wallpaper. This leads to movement of liquefied gel from inside the eye cavity through the retinal tear and gradual peeling of the retina from the wall of the eye. This is known as retinal detachment. Once the retina loses its blood supply, total or partial blindness can occur.
If a retinal tear is suspected based on the presence of new floaters/photopsias or a careful peripheral exam, a referral will be made to a retinal specialist for treatment through laser therapy or vitrectomy surgery.
The macula is the most central part of the retina and its most sensitive; it is what allows us to see clearly and in colour. A macular hole occurs when there is a full thickness defect at the macula and can be caused by several different factors. The most common causes of a macular hole are trauma to the eye, high myopia (short-sightedness) and macular oedema. However, a macular hole can also occur spontaneously without an any obvious reason. If your optometrist suspects you may have a macular hole they will refer you to a retinal specialist for treatment.
Northern Eye Centre has several locations throughout Melbourne including Heidelberg and Epping and is ready to help you if you’re worried about your eyesight or have been given such a referral. Call us today or request an appointment with our retinal specialist in Melbourne via our website.