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 conditions. Highly skilled Mayo retinal specialists have advanced diagnostic tools and offer the latest treatments in an effort to restore, preserve or improve vision or to slow or stop a disease.
  • Multidisciplinary team of specialized experts. Mayo Clinic retinal experts collaborate with other specialists to provide care for the whole person. For example, if you have diabetic retinopathy, your ophthalmologist can consult with Mayo diabetes specialists to provide comprehensive care as needed.
  • New medical advancements and treatments. Our mission to promote research and share knowledge helps advance care. Mayo Clinic's research activities include national studies that investigate innovative ways to preserve, rejuvenate and restore vision.


Retinal diseases and disorders vary widely, but most of them cause visual symptoms. Some retinal disorders are common and easily diagnosed. 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 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 break in the tissue. It's often accompanied by the sudden onset of symptoms such as floaters and flashing lights.
  • Retinal detachment. A retinal detachment is defined by the presence of fluid under the retina. This usually occurs when fluid passes through a retinal tear, causing the retina to lift 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. This causes 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. This also worsens your vision.
  • Epiretinal membrane. Epiretinal membrane is a delicate tissue-like scar or membrane that looks like crinkled cellophane lying on top of the retina. When it occurs over the center of the retina at the back of your eye, it's known as macular pucker. This condition distorts 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 abnormality involving the interface between the retina and the overlying vitreous. The macular hole may develop suddenly for no apparent reason, or it may follow an injury to the eye.
  • Macular degeneration. In macular degeneration, the center of your retina begins to deteriorate. This causes symptoms such as blurred central vision or a blind spot in the center of the visual field. There are two types — wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration. Many people will first have the dry form, which can progress to the wet form in one or both eyes. Mayo Clinic offers the most advanced treatments for macular degeneration, including laser therapy and — for dry macular degeneration — implanting a telescope in one eye.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa. Retinitis pigmentosa is a degenerative disease that affects the retina. The retina is the part of the eye that transmits light signals to the optic nerve and brain. As the disease progresses, you may first lose side (peripheral) vision and night vision. Eventually, the condition can lead to severe vision loss or blindness. Treatment options are available to help slow the process of retinal degeneration. And Mayo Clinic offers a new option called retinal prosthesis for people with severe vision loss or blindness owing to retinal disease.

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

March 11, 2016