The Retina

The back portion of the eye is lined by the retina, a thin, almost transparent tissue which receives light and colors and sends them to the brain as images. The retina can be divided into two important areas: the peripheral retina and the macula.

Peripheral Retina - Peripheral Vision

The peripheral retina, makes up more than 95% of the entire retina, is responsible only for peripheral vision. The peripheral retina can only see shapes and colors. The peripheral retina does not see well enough to read, but is important in depth perception and movement of objects toward central vision.

Macula - Central Vision

Central, reading vision is accomplished by the macula. The macula is the backmost part of the retina, where the photoreceptors (cells responsible for interpreting light and colors) are most densely packed. This is the area that we use to read the newspaper, street signs, and to watch television. Without good macular function, daily activities such as reading, writing, and driving, can become very difficult.

Understanding Disorders of the Retina

Patients with peripheral retinal disorders can often have problems for some time without symptoms. For example, retinal detachment is typically caused by a break in the peripheral retina, but until the detachment comes close to the macula, there may be no symptoms.
Patients with a wide variety of macular disorders (macular degeneration, diabetic maculopathy, or macular hole) may develop symptoms quite early. These problems are centered in the most important part of the eye.

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