How the Retina Works and What Can Go ?

Dec 02, 2023
How the Retina Works and What Can Go ?
Your retina is a vital part of how you see, but there are several conditions that can affect how well it performs its function. Read on to see how this part of your eye works, and what can damage it.

Our eyes are the window to the world, and to help us navigate the things around us, they can perform some pretty amazing things. Eyes can detect up to 10 million different colors, they blink up to 20 times per minute, move over 100,000 times daily, and have the resolution of a high-end digital camera. Each part of your eye plays a major role in how you see, and the retina is vital to that process for a variety of reasons.

This also means that damage to the retina can severely compromise how well you see, and there are numerous illnesses that can cause that. Let’s get a better understanding of this part of your eye by exploring basic facts about your retina, what illnesses can make its job more difficult, and what can be done to treat these issues.

Residents of the Muncie, Indiana, area struggling with retinal conditions that threaten their vision can get help from Dr. Jeffrey Rapkin and his dedicated medical staff at Retina Consultants of Muncie.

Facts about your retina

Your retina is located in the back of the orb, on the opposite end of the pupil and lens. When light enters the eye, it’s focused through your lens and the retina converts the light into images. The images you see are a result of how the retina works to process and translate information that comes in.

The retina is composed of two parts: the macular, the center of this part of your eye processes direct vision, and the peripheral, the part that fills in the information at the edge of your visual field (hence peripheral vision). It also has many different types of cells that help it to function, including photoreceptors, rods, and cones.

Conditions that affect it

Your retina can be damaged in a variety of ways:

Direct injury (retinal tears or detachment)

Retinal tears are a type of injury that damage the retina and can cause it to move out of position (retinal detachment). This can result from posterior vitreous detachment, eye surgery, or eye injury. Other problems like myopia (nearsightedness), family history of retinal issues, and smoking can increase the risks of retinal tears.

Degenerative changes (age-related macular degeneration)

Macular degeneration affects the center of your retina, and the age-related type of this problem is a progressive condition that affects people over 55, those with family histories of eye disease, and smokers. 


Diabetic retinopathy is the most common reason for blindness in adults of working age, and results from high amounts of blood glucose in your bloodstream left uncontrolled for long periods of time (diabetes). It can be asymptomatic, or appear with floaters, blurred vision, or vision loss. Other diseases include macular holes, which is a gap in your macula,  retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of your retina, and various inherited retinal diseases.

Methods of treatment

How Dr. Rapkin treats these conditions depends on the specific illness you suffer from, and can be managed in several ways:

  • Laser surgery: laser heat repairs tears or holes in retinal tissue
  • Photocoagulation: laser treatment shrinks abnormal blood vessels
  • Cryopexy: a freezing probe repairs the retinal wall
  • Pneumatic retinopexy: gas or air injections into the eye repair retinal damage 
  • Scleral buckling: indents the surface of your eye with silicone material to relieve the pressure on your retina
  • Vitrectomy: removes and replaces the vitreous (gel-like fluid in your eye) to relieve bleeding or inflammation
  • Retinal prosthesis: a small electrode chip implants on your retina to receive input when your retina is no longer able

Protecting your retina is vital to preserving your vision, and if you start experiencing vision problems, you should make an appointment with Dr. Rapkin and the Retina Consultants of Muncie today to get them examined and treated.