Retinal Diseases

Retinal diseases can be associated with aging, diabetes or other diseases, trauma to the eye, or family history. Symptoms might include seeing floating specks or cobwebs, blurred vision, distorted vision, defects in the field of vision, lost vision, or other problems.

To make a diagnosis, your ophthalmologist conducts a thorough eye exam and looks for abnormalities anywhere in the eye. Diagnostic testing may be done to determine the location and extent of the disease:


The main goals of treatment are to stop disease progression and preserve or improve vision. In many cases, damage that has already occurred can't be reversed, making early detection important. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment. Treatment options available in La Crosse may include:

  • Using a laser. A certain type of laser surgery (focal laser photocoagulation) can repair a retinal tear or hole. Your surgeon uses a laser to heat small pinpoints on the retina. This creates scarring that usually binds, or welds, the retina to the underlying tissue. Immediate treatment of a new retinal tear with a laser can decrease the risk of the tear leading to a retinal detachment.
  • Shrinking abnormal blood vessels. Your doctor may use a technique called scatter laser photocoagulation to shrink abnormal new blood vessels that are bleeding or threatening to bleed into the vitreous. This treatment may help people with conditions such as diabetic retinopathy. With extensive scatter laser photocoagulation, you may experience loss of some side (peripheral) vision or night vision.
  • Injecting drugs into the eye. Your doctor may suggest injecting medication into the vitreous fluid in the eye. This technique may be effective in treating people with wet macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or broken blood vessels within the eye.

For example, to treat wet macular degeneration, periodic injections of medications directly into your eye may help stop disease progression. In some cases, this treatment may help to partially recover vision.

Additional treatment options are available through a referral to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.