We provide various diagnostic and therapeutic services at the Woodlands Retina Center. This page provides information about some of the most common services we provide. If you have any questions about the services we provide or if you would like to know if we provide a certain service, please feel free to contact us.
This procedure uses a laser to destroy the fragile, leaky blood vessels. A high energy beam of light is aimed directly onto the new blood vessels and destroys them, preventing further loss of vision. However, laser treatment may also destroy some surrounding healthy tissue and some vision. Only a small percentage of people with wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery. Laser surgery is more effective if the leaky blood vessels have developed away from the fovea, the central part of the macula. Laser surgery is performed in a doctor's office or eye clinic.
Although laser surgery is considered a highly effective treatment for AMD, the risk of new blood vessels developing after laser treatment is still high. Repeated treatments may be necessary. In some cases, vision loss may progress despite repeated treatments.
A drug called Verteporfin® is injected into the patient’s arm. It travels throughout the body, eventually reaching the new blood vessels in the eye. The drug tends to "stick" to the surface of new blood vessels. Next, a light is shined into the patient’s eye for about 90 seconds. The light activates the drug, which destroys the new blood vessels and leads to a slower rate of vision decline. Unlike laser surgery, this drug does not destroy surrounding healthy tissue. Because the drug is activated by light, patients must avoid exposing their skin or eyes to direct sunlight or bright indoor light for at least five days after treatment. Photodynamic therapy is relatively painless, and the whole procedure takes about 20 minutes, allowing the procedure to be carried out in the doctor's office.
Photodynamic therapy slows the rate of vision loss. It does not stop vision loss or restore vision in eyes already damaged by advanced AMD. Treatment results often are temporary, with some patients showing a need for repeated treatment.
Wet AMD can now be treated with new drugs that are injected into the eye (anti-VEGF therapy). Abnormally high levels of a specific growth factor occur in eyes with wet AMD and promote the growth of abnormal new blood vessels. This drug treatment blocks the effects of the growth factor.
The patient will need multiple injections that may be given as often as once a month. The eye is numbed before each injection. After the injection, the patient remains in the doctor's office for a while and with the treated under constant monitoring. This drug treatment can help slow down vision loss from AMD and in some cases improve sight.
Visual Field Test
The visual field is the total area in which objects can be seen in the peripheral vision while the eye is focused on a central point. This test can provide a map of visual field loss. Examination of the visual field enables your physician to diagnose and evaluate conditions that can cause visual field defects. Macular degeneration, retinal detachment and optic nerve damage from glaucoma are only some of the conditions that can cause defects in the visual field.
In this diagnostic procedure, a vegetable-based dye is injected into a vein in the arm, forearm or hand. A high resolution camera will then take a rapid sequence of photographs which are subsequently analyzed by a computer. By looking at these photographs your physician can evaluate the circulation of blood to the retina and the choroid. Fluorescein angiography is often helpful in the diagnosis and assessment of conditions like macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy and other vascular and chorioretinal diseases.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
This procedure measures the thickness of the retina at the micron level. Using this technology your physician can obtain optical scans of a cross-section of the retina. This will help your physician identify many types of retinal abnormalities. OCT is useful in the evaluation of conditions like age-related macular edema, diabetic macular edema, cystoid macular edema and macular holes.
If direct visualization of structures inside the eye is difficult or impossible because of an obstruction like a cataract or a hemorrhage, ocular ultrasound can give your physician valuable information on the inside of the eye. Ultrasound uses sound waves reflected from eye tissue to produce an image of the eye's anatomy. An ocular ultrasound is used to diagnose a variety of conditions like vitreous hemorrhage and ocular tumors.