Our group of trained retina specialists diagnose and treat a wide range of retinal, macular, and vitreous diseases, ranging from macular degeneration, retinal detachments, and macular edema, to diabetic retinopathy and ocular tumors. We treat patients with eye conditions brought on by severe eye trauma and a high volume of inherited retinal disorder cases. The conditions we treat require a highly detailed examination by one of our vitreoretinal surgeons, using specialized equipment, testing and medical and/or surgical procedures, including laser therapy or intraocular injections.
The macula is the part of the retina responsible for our most detailed central vision and is essential for precise vision. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the US today, affecting approximately 10 million people. The dry or atrophic form accounts for 85-90% of cases and is characterized by slow decline of central vision function over many years. The wet or exudative form accounts for about 10% of cases and can lead to rapid and irreversible central vision loss. Since 2005, intravitreal therapy (ocular injections) with anti-VEGF drugs has revolutionized care of the wet form. New treatments for both forms of AMD are in development, with Colorado Retina taking part in over 30 promising clinical trials.
Most disorders of the front of the eye (the anterior segment) are treated by general eye doctors (optometrists and ophthalmologists), cornea specialists, and glaucoma specialists. Occasionally, these diseases intersect with problems in the back of the eye (the posterior segment) where retina specialists focus their care. In surgical cases where complications related to cataract surgery, trauma, or inherited eye conditions have occurred, an integrated approach to treating the entire eye is needed.
Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the US. There are many ways in which diabetes impacts the eye, including swelling of the macula (the most important, central part of the retina), decreased oxygen delivery, and new growth and bleeding of diseased blood vessels. Early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease by a retina specialist is incredibly important in preventing and reversing vision loss.
An ERM (also known as macular pucker) is a growth of scar tissue over the macula, the portion of the retina providing central vision. Typically due to age related eye changes, ERM development is also associated with a retinal tear and detachment, eye trauma, and diabetes. Most membranes have little effect on vision, but if severe they can be removed surgically with improvement in symptoms and vision.
Flashes and/or floaters can be a startling occurrence. Floaters typically start as sudden, painless opacities like thousands of little specks (sometimes described as pepper or dust by the patient) or larger stringy opacities (sometimes described as cobwebs or hair). Flashing lights may accompany these new floaters as bright arcs of light in the far peripheral or side vision. Flashes and floaters may alternatively have a more gradual onset where the floaters slowly increase in number and the flashing lights have a more shimmering or mirage-like quality.
Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) are a group of genetic disorders that affect the retina’s ability to transmit light-related information to the brain. Typically, IRDs cause a slow loss of vision, beginning with decreased night vision and loss of peripheral (side) vision. Colorado Retina’s Inherited Retinal Disease service is the regional referral tertiary care center for persons living with inherited conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa and Stargardt’s disease. Our Eye Lab has the latest equipment to perform full-field electroretinograms, electrooculograms, and static and kinetic visual fields. The Foundation Fighting Blindness has designated Colorado Retina as their genetic testing center, bringing us to the forefront of diagnostic technology and inherited disease research.
The macula is the part of the retina responsible for our most detailed central vision and is essential for precise visual activities like reading and driving. A macular hole occurs when a full thickness defect develops in the very center of the macula, usually due to age related changes. This creates blurred vision, distortion, and a small central blind spot. A macular hole can be seen on a dilated eye exam, but detailed features of the hole can be appreciated with specialized imaging technology called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). Macular holes are most commonly repaired with surgery using a gas bubble.
Intraocular tumors are evaluated with a variety of diagnostic imaging technologies to make a diagnosis and create a personalized clinical plan. Benign lesions such as choroidal nevi, hemangiomas, and osteomas are typically monitored but may be treated to improve vision. Malignancies such as uveal melanoma, or metastasis of cancer to the eye, are treated in coordination with oncology teams. Procedures offered may include vitrectomy, biopsy, laser-based therapies,plaque brachytherapy (radiation treatment), or in rare cases enucleation (removal of the eye).
The retina lines the back wall of the eye and is responsible for processing the light that enters the eye, converting it into an electrical signal that allows you to perceive vision. Many conditions can lead to a retinal detachment, in which the retina separates from the back wall of the eye. The typical symptoms of a retinal detachment include floaters, flashing lights, and a shadow in the peripheral vision that can move toward the center of vision. A variety of surgical treatments are used to reattach the retina to the back wall of the eye including scleral buckling, vitrectomy, laser, or pneumatic retinopexy.
A Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) involves blockage of blood trying to leave the eye through the retinal veins, commonly occurring in persons over the age of 55 years and is usually associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and/or cigarette smoking. Medical evaluation is often necessary to identify and treat any underlying risk factors. Ocular (intravitreal) injections and laser are the mainstays of treatment for patients with RVO related vision loss.
Uveitis refers to a group of inflammatory and infectious diseases in and around the eye, including iritis, pars planitis, scleritis, birdshot chorioretinopathy and retinal vasculitis. Patients often have systemic autoimmune conditions that are associated with their uveitis. With two fellowship trained subspecialists, CRA is a tertiary referral center for uveitis patients in the Rocky Mountain region.
Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) is a natural change that occurs during adulthood, when the vitreous gel that fills the eye separates from the retina, the light-sensing nerve layer at the back of the eye.