Why choose Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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  • Expertise and experience. Each year, Mayo Clinic eye disease specialists (ophthalmologists) treat thousands of people for all types of retinal diseases and disorders. Highly skilled Mayo retinal specialists have advanced diagnostic tools and offer the latest treatments to restore vision or to slow or stop the disease and preserve as much vision as possible.
  • Multispecialty team. Mayo Clinic's retinal experts work together with other specialists as needed to provide comprehensive care, treating your eye disease and other related conditions at the same time. For example, your ophthalmologist can consult with Mayo's diabetes specialists if you have diabetic retinopathy, a complication from diabetes that can result in blindness.
  • Latest research. Mayo Clinic's research activities include national regenerative studies that investigate innovative ways to preserve, rejuvenate and restore vision.

Types of Retinal Diseases

Retinal diseases and disorders vary widely, but most cause visual symptoms. Some retinal disorders are common and easily diagnosed, while others are rare and hard to diagnose. These may require complex and sometimes urgent treatment. Untreated, some retinal diseases can cause severe vision loss or blindness. It's important to pay attention to any changes in your vision or new visual symptoms and seek appropriate care quickly.

Common retinal diseases and conditions include:

  • Retinal tear. A retinal tear occurs when the clear, gel-like substance in the center of your eye (vitreous) shrinks and tugs on the thin layer of tissue lining the back of your eye (retina) with enough traction to cause a tear.
  • Retinal detachment. A sign of retinal detachment includes the presence of fluid under the retina. This usually occurs when fluid passes through a retinal tear or break, causing the retina to lift or blister away from the underlying tissue layers.
  • Diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetes, the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the back of your eye can deteriorate and leak fluid into and under the retina, causing the retina to swell, typically resulting in blurry vision. Or, you may develop new, abnormal capillaries that break and bleed into the retina or into the center of the eye, further worsening vision.
  • Epiretinal membrane. Epiretinal membrane, also known as macular pucker, is a delicate tissue-like scar or membrane that forms over the center of the retina at the back of your eye (macula). Epiretinal membrane may distort the surface of the retina, which results in distortion of your vision — objects may appear blurred or crooked.
  • Macular hole. A macular hole is a small defect or hole in the center of the retina at the back of your eye (macula). In most cases, this is due to an age-related degeneration of the macula. The macular hole may also develop for no apparent reason, or it may be caused by eye trauma.
  • Macular degeneration. In macular degeneration, the center of your retina begins to deteriorate, causing symptoms that range from blurred or slightly distorted central vision to a blind spot in the center of the visual field. There are two types — wet and dry.

Learn about retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked high performing for ophthalmology by U.S. News & World Report.

Mayo Clinic: Answers you can trust

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

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