The retina is incredibly complex tissue composed of layers of light-sensing nerves (photoreceptors), blood vessels, and pigment coating the inside of your eye. This is the part of your eye that actually detects light, similar to the film of a camera. The rest of your eye acts more as focusing apparatus, like the lens of a camera.
The photoreceptors detect light and then send signals to your brain, which puts information from all the photoreceptors together to form images. Therefore, any damage or disease of the retina affects the detection and transmission of light and images and can result in significant, and often irreversible, loss of vision.
Your retina is seen by looking through your pupil, into the back of your eye (like looking inside a beach ball through the air hole). However, due to the complexity of retinal tissue, it’s virtually impossible to record in writing exactly what it looks like. In this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words. Having retinal photographs to compare from visit-to-visit can assist in detection of very small changes, resulting in early treatments, thus minimizing the impact on your vision.
For this reason, our office includes retinal photographs as part of our routine eye examinations for all patients old enough to sit still for them – usually starting around 8 years of age. To learn more about retinal photography, please contact our office.