It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dr. Rahul Reddy. Click here to read more
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dr. Rahul Reddy. Click here to read more Patient Portal Career Center (602) 242-4928

Conditions We Treat

Retinal Diseases

Our physicians are ophthalmologists who sub-specialize in the treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the eye’s retina and vitreous.

At Associated Retina Consultants we treat all retinal conditions including those listed below, and more.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that causes vision loss in the center of vision. It is caused by the deterioration of the macula which is located at the back of the eye. AMD is the leading cause of legal blindness in the United States for people over the age of 65. AMD is present in approximately 10% of the population over age 52 and in up to 33% of individuals older than 75.

Types of AMD

There are two types of macular degeneration: Dry AMD and Wet AMD.
  • Dry AMD occurs when small clumps of scar tissue called drusen form under the macula. This condition can also occur when the retinal pigment layer under the retina degenerates (this is rare). Geographic Atrophy is an advanced form of dry macular degeneration (AMD) that causes a black spot in central vision.
  • Wet AMD occurs when new blood vessels grow under the macula, leaking blood and fluid that cause the macula to blister.
Patients with Dry AMD in Phoenix may develop Wet AMD over time, so an ophthalmologist should regularly monitor any vision changes very closely.

Symptoms of AMD

While vision loss is typically severe and rapid with Wet AMD, Dry AMD symptoms usually develop gradually in one or both eyes. Symptoms can include:
  • Blurry or Hazy Vision
  • Difficulty Seeing in Dim Light
  • Difficulty Recognizing Faces
  • Blind Spot in Central Vision
  • Dullness of Colors
  • Straight Lines Appear Wavy
Because AMD does not cause pain or irritation, the symptoms can easily be overlooked. Regular eye exams in Phoenix can detect AMD.

Causes of AMD

There is no singular cause of AMD. Some risk factors may include:
  • Age
  • Genetics / Family History of AMD
  • Smoking
  • Female Gender
  • Light-colored Eyes
  • Fair Colored Skin
  • Poor Nutrition
  • High Cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular Disease

Treatment of AMD

There is no cure for AMD; however, there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease. It is also important to stop smoking if you have AMD.
  • Dry AMD Treatment: Combination of vitamins with high doses of antioxidants and zinc. We are proud to offer our patients Focus Vitamins.
  • Wet AMD Treatment: Injections of anti-angiogenic medications into the eye can prevent development of new blood vessels and reduce leakage from existing blood vessels. Sometimes laser therapy is used to destroy abnormal blood vessels.

Geographic Atrophy

Geographic Atrophy is an advanced form of dry macular degeneration (AMD) that causes a black spot in central vision.

Reason for Geographic Atrophy

Our eyes need healthy photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) to gather incoming light and transmit images to the brain. In late stage dry AMD, protein deposits (drusen) forming on the macula (the central part of the retina) clump on the photoreceptor cells and cause them to die. When these photoreceptor cells are lost, central vision is lost. This is a slow process that will also begin to affect the visual cells in the retina.

Symptoms of Geographic Atrophy

  • Difficulty reading in dim lighting situations
  • Central vision loss
  • Black spot in central vision
  • Slower reading speed
  • Glare
  • No change in peripheral vision

Risk Factors for Geographic Atrophy

  • Aging (more frequent in a person’s 70s and 80s)
  • History of smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Light colored iris
  • Genetics

Treatment for Geographic Atrophy

Unfortunately there is no treatment for this condition. Our Arizona macular degeneration doctors use autofluorescence imaging and high density optical coherence tomography techniques to monitor the progression of this disease to help protect vision for as long as possible. If you are experiencing any change in your central vision, contact our macular degeneration doctors in Arizona to schedule an eye exam to identify the root cause of your vision problems.

Amsler Grid

The Amsler grid eye test is used to help macular degeneration patients manage their condition and alert them to any changes in their condition. This is a simple test that can be done at home.

Instructions for Amsler Grid

  1. Print out the grid.
  2. Wear your reading glasses, if applicable.
  3. Hold the grid at reading distance.
  4. Cover one eye and focus on the black dot in the center of the grid.
  5. Note any lines in your peripheral vision that appear wavy, crooked or missing.
  6. Mark the affected lines on the chart.
  7. Repeat process with other eye.
  8. Keep track of any changes to your Amsler grid testing.
Click here to download the Amsler grid If you notice any changes in your vision or in your Amsler grid tests, contact your ophthalmologist immediately. These changes may signify a worsening of your condition. Schedule your retinal exam in Phoenix at Associated Retina Consultants today. If you have been experiencing any symptoms of AMD in Phoenix or have a family history of AMD, contact Associated Retina Consultants to schedule an eye exam. Read more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration at ASRS.

Central Serous Retinopathy / Chorioretinopathy

Central serous chorioretinopathy, commonly referred to as CSC, is a condition in which fluid accumulates under the retina, causing a serous (fluid-filled) detachment and vision loss. CSC most often occurs in young and middle-aged adults. For unknown reasons, men develop this condition more commonly than women. Vision loss is usually temporary but sometimes can become chronic or recur.


Blurry central vision, which often occurs in one eye, is the most common symptom that patients experience; however, careful examination often reveals some involvement in the other eye as well. Depending on the location and amount of sub-retinal fluid, CSC can show no symptoms, especially if the affected areas fall outside of the macula—the part of the retina used to distinguish fine detail for activities like reading and recognizing faces.


The causes of CSC are not fully understood. It is thought that any systemic exposure to a corticosteroid drug can bring about or worsen CSC. Corticosteroids are found in allergy nose sprays and anti-inflammatory skin creams available over the counter, and are often prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions. An association has also been made between CSC and patients with emotional distress and/or “type A” personalities. It is possible that the body produces natural corticosteroids in times of stress that may trigger CSC in an individual prone to this condition.


Several therapies have been used to treat chronic CSC, including thermal laser treatments, oral medications, and eye injections. A “cold laser,” called photodynamic therapy, is also effective and often used to focally treat the source of fluid leakage under the retina in chronic CSC. Read More at American Society of Retina Specialists
A choroidal nevus is basically a freckle inside your eye. People are not typically born with a choroidal nevus; they can develop over time. They are caused by the clumping of cells called melanocytes, the melanin pigment that colors our skin, hair and eyes. This is not something that you can see just by looking at your eyes; however, your eye doctor will be able to diagnose and monitor the condition of the eye nevus. In most cases, these are benign and do not need to be treated. However, if it begins leaking fluid, changes to an orange color (they are typically grey/brown/yellow) or begins to thicken, those may be signs that it is a malignant choroidal melanoma.

Symptoms of Choroidal Nevus

If the choroidal nevus is normal, you may not know it is even present until an eye doctor discovers it. However, if it begins to change as noted above, you may begin to experience symptoms such as flashes of light or vision loss. Signs that you have a retinal detachment due to an eye freckle may include:
  • Floaters
  • Flashes
  • Reduced peripheral vision
  • Shadow over your visual field
  • Blurry vision

Treatment for Choroidal Nevus

There is no way to safely remove a choroidal nevus. If your condition turns into choroidal melanoma, your doctor will closely monitor your condition and may recommend radiation therapy. In extreme cases, enucleation (removal of the eye) may be recommended. To learn more about diagnosis and treatments for choroidal nevus in Phoenix, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Detached and Torn Retina's

The retina is the inner lining of the eye; it is the thin, light-sensitive tissue that generates vision. Tears can form in the retina, creating a risk of retinal detachment and severe loss of vision. Retinal detachment is when the retina (the back of the eye) separates from the back wall of the eye.


A patient with an acute retinal tear may experience the sudden onset of black spots or “floaters” in the affected eye. This can have the appearance of someone shaking pepper in your vision. Flashes of light are another common symptom. If there is associated vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding in the clear cavity of the eye) or retinal detachment, additional symptoms can include blurred vision or a shadow as if curtains are closing in from the peripheral (side) vision. However, in some cases, a retinal tear may not manifest any noticeable symptoms. There is typically no pain or discomfort with a retinal detachment. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, contact an ophthalmologist immediately:
  • Loss of Peripheral (side) Vision
  • Floaters/Specks
  • Flashes of Light
  • Loss of Central Vision
  • Feeling of a curtain coming down over vision.

Causes of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachments often occur when the vitreous gel inside the eye begins to shrink and contract which pulls on the retina and creates a tear in the retina. Natural fluid in the eye can leak through the tear and collect under the retina causing it to become detached. Retinal detachment can be caused by:
  • Aging
  • Severe Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Eye Injury
  • Eye Disease
  • Cataract Surgery
  • Family History of Retinal Detachment
  • Treatment for Retinal Detachment

Complex Retinal Detachment

Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) is a condition in which retinal scar tissue, or “membranes” form; this may occur with a retinal detachment. A key risk factor for developing PVR is a giant retinal tear—a large tear that involves at least 25% of the retina. When PVR or a giant retinal tear is  present, a retinal detachment is classified as “complex.” Read More at ASRS

Choroidal Detachment

The choroid (pronounced “CORE-oyd”) is a spongy layer of blood vessels that lines the back wall of the eye between the retina and the sclera (or the white part of the eye). It plays an important role in delivering oxygen and nutrients to the outer half of the retina. The choroid is normally directly next to the sclera, but can be displaced by fluid or blood, leading to a choroidal detachment (separation).


When the choroid is detached from the back wall of the eye, patients may not feel anything at all, or may feel Choroidal Retina Photothat the eye is achy and sore. In some cases, a choroidal detachment can cause more severe pain. Often, the vision is blurred as well, though the degree of blurring varies and often relates to other eye issues that can accompany a choroidal detachment, such as recent surgery, or high or low pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure). [su_divider divider_color="00d0d0" size="5"]

Retinal Tears and Detachment - Treatment and Prognosis

If a retinal tear is diagnosed promptly before it progresses to retinal detachment, the prognosis is extremely good. Retinal tears are typically treated with laser or a freezing procedure (cryotherapy). Treatment is performed in an office setting and is very effective and quite safe. Retinal Detachment The goal of treatment is to re-attach the retina to the back wall of the eye and seal the tears or holes that caused the retinal detachment. Several approaches can be employed to repair a retinal detachment:
  1. Scleral buckle—In this surgery, a silicone band is placed outside the eye wall to push the wall of the eye closer to the retinal tear in order to close the tear. The tear is treated with a freezing treatment to induce controlled scarring around the tear and permanently seal it. The fluid under the retina is sometimes removed at the time of surgery.
  2. Vitrectomy—In this surgery, three small incisions are made in the white part of the eye and fine instruments are manipulated using an operating microscope to remove the vitreous gel that fills the eye and drain the fluid from under the retina. The surgeon may then use a laser or cryopexy to seal the retinal tears or holes. The eye is then filled with a gas bubble to hold the retina in place while it heals.
  3. Pneumatic retinopexy—In this office-based procedure, a gas bubble is injected into the eye and the patient maintains a specific head posture to position the gas bubble over the retinal tear. The tear itself is sealed either with a freezing treatment at the time of the procedure, or with laser after the retina is re-attached.
  4. Laser surgery—In certain cases, a retinal detachment can be walled off with laser to prevent the retinal detachment from spreading. This is generally appropriate for small detachments.
Based on the characteristics of the detachment, a retina specialist can determine which approach is most suitable. In general, retinal detachment repairs succeed in about 9 out of 10 cases, though sometimes more than one procedure is required to successfully put the retina back into place. If you think you might have a retinal detachment, contact Associated Retina Consultants today to schedule a retinal exam. Our doctors will look at your unique set of eyes to determine the underlying cause of your vision problems and recommend the best treatment options. Read More at ASRS

Diabetic Retinopathy

The retina (nerves at the back of your eye) needs a continual supply of blood and nutrients to stay healthy. If the blood vessels that supply blood to the retina begin to deteriorate and leak fluid and blood into the retinal tissue, the health of the retina is put in jeopardy. The condition of diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. It is estimated that over 25% of diabetics have some form of this disease. It is the leading cause of blindness in adults with diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

In the early stages, a patient with diabetic retinopathy may not know that damage is occurring because there are no outward symptoms. This increases the importance for diabetics to have regular eye exams that will identify these silent diseases; treatment can then be started that can slow progression of the disease. In the later stages, diabetic retinopathy can cause:
  • Vision Loss
  • Blindness
  • Blurry Vision
  • Color Perception Difficulties
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Vitreous Hemorrhage (the jelly-like substance that fills the eye)
  • Dark spots, strings or floaters in the vision.

Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy

Elevated blood sugar levels can damage or even completely block the blood vessels that nourish the retina. This can occur in either Type I or Type II diabetics in Phoenix. Other risk factors for diabetic retinopathy include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco usage and pregnancy.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Lifestyle changes to control blood sugar levels will dramatically reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It can also help to slow the progression of the disease. If you have been diagnosed with the disease, treatment will depend on the severity of your condition. Treatment may include:
  • Vitrectomy to remove blood from the vitreous area of the eye.
  • Focal laser treatment to slow or halt the leakage of blood in the eye.
  • Scatter laser treatment to shrink abnormal blood vessels.
If you are diabetic and are not having regular eye exams, schedule one today at Associated Retina Consultants. We can help you stay proactive with your eye health and preserve your vision for as long as possible.
Certain retinal surgeries require that you keep your head in a face down (parallel to the ground) position during recovery. If this position is not maintained for several weeks after surgery, the surgery will not be successful. Here is the reason why: Surgery to correct a retinal detachment or a macular hole involves the removal of the vitreous from your eye through a vitrectomy. After the retina has been treated, the space in your eye is refilled with a gas bubble or silicone oil to help the retina reattach or the hole to close. Keeping your head in this face down position allows the bubble or oil to remain in the correct position so it heals as quickly and effectively as possible. Raising your head, flying in an airplane or even traveling to high altitudes during recovery can raise your eye pressure and cause other vision problems. The good news is that your body will eventually refill the gas bubble with your body’s own natural fluids. Until then, it is of the utmost importance that you follow your doctor’s instructions and maintain this face down position as long as necessary. With time the bubble will be replaced with your natural body fluids. You will know that the bubble is disappearing when you see a line in your vision that slowly moves down in your field of vision.

Tips to Keep Your Head Down at all Times

  • While sitting at a table, lay your head on your folded arms
  • While sleeping, lie face down and allow your operated eye to hang over your pillow or edge of the bed
  • Purchase or rent equipment specifically for this type of recovery:
    • Massage table
    • Adjustable face down chairs
    • Tabletop face cradles to allow movement of your arms and hands
    • Face down pillows
    • Face down mirrors to allow you to see things around you
Your insurance carrier might cover some of the cost of face down recovery equipment. Our practice does not endorse the products provided by the following companies, but this may be a good place to start your research:
  • McFee Technologies: 1-877-501-4684
  • Vitrectomy Solutions: 1-877-262-7378
If you have any questions about face down recovery in Phoenix, please contact us today.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) is a natural change that occurs during adulthood, when the vitreous gel that fills the eye separates from the retina, the light-sensing nerve layer at the back of the eye. Over time, the vitreous gel that fills the eye becomes liquid and condenses (shrinks) due to age and normal wear and tear. Eventually it cannot fill the whole volume of the eye’s vitreous cavity (which remains the same size during adulthood) and so the gel separates from the retina, located at the very back of the eye cavity.


  • Floaters (mobile blurry shadows that obscure the vision)
  • Flashes (streaks of light, usually at the side of the vision)
These symptoms usually become less intense over several weeks. Most patients experience PVD after age 60, once in each eye, and the condition is usually non-sight-threatening but occasionally affects vision more permanently in the event of complication, such as retinal detachment or epiretinal membrane.

Treatment and Prognosis

No specific treatment is needed for PVD. That said, complications of PVD are rare but can be serious and require urgent treatment, such as laser for a retinal tear or surgery for a retinal detachment. For this reason, one or more checkups are recommended within 3 months after the onset of PVD. In rare cases, the floaters from PVD persist, and vitrectomy surgery to remove the floaters is effective; you and your doctor may consider this after discussing the risks and benefits of surgery. Read More at

Inherited Retinal Conditions

Vision loss and eye diseases can often affect multiple generations of a family. Genetic factors play a role in many kinds of eye disease, including those diseases that are the leading cause of blindness among infants, children and adults. To help you understand your vision changes and protect your sight, we offer sophisticated testing and treatment for the management of retinal diseases. Our variety of retinal electrophysiology and visual function tests get to the root of vision problems by differentiating between retinal and optic nerve conditions. If you are suffering from an inherited retinal condition, visit our Inherited Retinal Disease and Visual Function Clinic to learn more about how we test for and treat the various rare diseases, including:

Stargardt Disease

Stargardt disease is an inherited disorder of the retina – the tissue at the back of the eye that senses light. The disease typically causes vision loss during childhood or adolescence, although in some forms, vision loss may not be noticed until later in adulthood. It is rare for people with the disease to become completely blind. For most people, vision loss progresses slowly over time to 20/200 or worse. (Normal vision is 20/20).

Best Macular Dystrophy

Best’s disease, also known as vitelliform macular dystrophy, is a genetic eye disorder that can cause progressive vision loss. This disorder affects the retina, the specialized light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Specifically, vitelliform macular dystrophy disrupts cells in a small area near the center of the retina called the macula. The macula is responsible for sharp central vision, which is needed for detailed tasks such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of rare, genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina—which is the light sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Common symptoms include difficulty seeing at night and a loss of side (peripheral) vision.

Usher Syndrome

Usher syndrome is the most common condition that affects both hearing and vision; sometimes it also affects balance. The major symptoms of Usher syndrome are deafness or hearing loss and an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Deafness or hearing loss in Usher syndrome is caused by abnormal development of hair cells (sound receptor cells) in the inner ear. Most children with Usher syndrome are born with moderate to profound hearing loss, depending on the type. Less commonly, hearing loss from Usher syndrome appears during adolescence or later. Usher syndrome can also cause severe balance problems due to abnormal development of the vestibular hair cells, sensory cells that detect gravity and head movement. RP initially causes night-blindness and a loss of peripheral (side) vision through the progressive degeneration of cells in the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye and is crucial for vision. As RP progresses, the field of vision narrows until only central vision remains, a condition called tunnel vision. Macular holes (small breaks in the macula, the central part of the retina) and cataracts (clouding of the lens) can sometimes cause an early decline in central vision in people with Usher syndrome.

Leber Congenital Amaurosis, LCA

Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is an inherited retinal disease that causes severe visual impairment in infancy or early childhood. Current research on a gene transfer therapy may offer hope to people with a form of this disease.
Low vision is any type of vision impairment that makes it difficult to perform normal tasks such as reading, driving, cooking, watching television, recognizing faces or shopping. If eyeglasses, medicine or surgery do not improve vision, it becomes necessary to adapt to low vision in Phoenix, AZ, and find ways to maintain as much independence as possible.

Symptoms of Low Vision

If you have low vision, you may experience:
  • Central vision disturbance
  • Peripheral vision disturbance
  • Difficulty with color perception
  • Difficulty with depth perception
  • Blurry, hazy, wavy or distorted vision
  • Inability to see in dim lighting environments

Risk Factors for Low Vision

While anyone can experience low vision, it is more common in older people. Eye trauma, stroke and brain injury can lead to low vision. Certain eye diseases can also increase your risk for low vision:
  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

Treatment for Low Vision

If your low vision is caused by an eye disease, there may be treatments to restore some of your eyesight. However, it is possible that you will need to begin a vision rehabilitation program to learn new strategies on how to live your life. Accept the support of your doctors, family and friends to help you through this adjustment period. Be patient: it will take time to get used to these new techniques. It may require a full team of experts to help you along this journey: ophthalmologist, low vision specialist, occupational therapist, rehabilitation teacher, orientation and mobility specialist, social worker or counselor.

Optical Low Vision Aids

Our doctors at Associated Retina Consultants can help you determine which type of optical low vision aid would best suit your needs.
  • Handheld magnifiers: available in varying strengths and may have a built-in light
  • Magnifying glasses: strong vision aids to help you perform detail-oriented tasks such as reading or needlework hands-free
  • Stand magnifiers: useful for people with arthritis or tremors because they do not have to be held
  • Telescopes: used for seeing faraway objects or signs; they can be hand-held like a pair of regular binoculars or mounted on a pair of glasses
  • Video magnifiers: adjustable, electronic devices that use a camera and video display unit (large or small) to enlarge printed material, pictures or small objects

More Low Vision Resources

There are many products on the market that can help with low vision.
  • Printed materials in large print (books, playing cards, checks, etc.)
  • Technical items with large print (telephones, thermostats, watches, remote controls, etc.)
  • Technical items with sound capabilities (watches, timers, books, blood pressure/blood sugar machines)
  • Magnifying or talking computers
  • Strong light bulbs and handheld bright lights to illuminate your home and your daily tasks
  • Wrap-around sunglasses and hats with wide brims to filter out glare from indoor or outdoor lights

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

There are many vision rehabilitation resources available. Our team would be happy to help you identify local resources to help you along this journey. If you are experiencing any type of vision loss in Phoenix, please contact us to schedule an eye exam today.

Macular Edema

Macular edema develops when blood vessels in the retina are leaking fluids. The macula does not function properly when it is swollen. Vision loss may be mild to severe, but in many cases, your peripheral (side) vision remains. The more widespread, thicker, and severe the swelling becomes, the more likely one will notice visual symptoms of blur, distortion, and difficulty reading. Macular edema is often a complication of diabetic retinopathy, and is the most common form of vision loss for people with diabetes. If untreated, chronic macular edema can lead to irreversible damage of the macula and permanent vision loss.

Treatment and Prognosis

The most effective treatment strategies for macular edema address the underlying cause (diabetes, blood vessel occlusion, neovascularization, inflammation, etc), as well as an excess of fluid leaking from abnormal blood vessels in and around the macula. Eye drops, laser, and surgery can be effective in many diseases, but the mainstay of treatment is intravitreal injections (IVI). [su_spacer size="5"] If you would like to learn more about macular edema visit ASRS - macular edema.

Macular Edema Video: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Macular Holes and Macular Puckers

The macula is a small collection of nerve cells found in the middle of the retina (the back of the eye). Responsible for our central vision, this is the sharp point where the eye focuses the images that we see. When a break develops in these nerve fibers, this is called a macular hole. As we age, the macula can also begin to grow a thin layer of scar tissue over the light-sensitive surface. This is a macular pucker.

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Macular Holes

Macular holes are painless but they can seriously affect your vision as you grow older. Most people develop these after age 60; women are more susceptible to the disease. Symptoms can include:
  • Loss of Central Vision
  • Distortion/Blurriness of Central Vision
  • Straight Lines That Look Wavy
There are three stages of macular holes. The higher the stage, the more impact the disease will have on your vision. Left untreated, the symptoms will continue to worsen.
  1. Foveal Detachment
  2. Partial-Thickness Holes
  3. Full-Thickness Holes

Causes of Macular Holes

  • Diabetic Eye Disease
  • Macular Pucker
  • Detached Retina
  • Eye Trauma or Injury
  • Extreme Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Shrinkage or detachment of the vitreous (jelly-like substance) in the eye.

Treatment of Macular Holes

Macular holes in Phoenix are most often treated surgically with a procedure known as a vitrectomy. During a vitrectomy surgery, the vitreous gel in the middle of the eye is removed and replaced with an air/gas bubble. The bubble pulls the edges of the hole together and keeps it together as the hole heals. The bubble dissipates on its own and the eye replaces it with its own saline fluid. Read more about macular holes at ASRS: macular holes [su_divider divider_color="00d0d0" size="5"]

Macular Pucker

A macular pucker can have some of the same symptoms as a macular hole, although this is not the same as a macular hole and severe vision loss is uncommon with this condition. Symptoms can include:
  • Blurry Central Vision
  • Mildly Distorted Central Vision
  • Straight Lines Look Wavy
  • Difficulty Reading Small Print
  • Gray Spot In Central Vision
  • Blind Spot In Central Vision

Causes of Macular Pucker

Macular pucker is often caused by the shrinkage or detachment of the vitreous (jelly-like substance) in the eye. When the vitreous pulls away from the retinal surface (a very normal occurrence) the retina will begin to heal the damaged area and form scar tissue. When this occurs on other areas of the retina, there is usually no effect on central vision; however, if it forms on the macula and begins to wrinkle, central vision will be affected. Eye trauma and prior eye surgery can also have an impact on the vitreous and lead to a macular pucker.

Treatments for Macular Pucker

Most macular pucker patients do not require any type of treatment if the symptoms are mild. However, if your vision distortion is affecting your daily activities, a vitrectomy surgery may be performed to remove the vitreous gel to prevent it from pulling on the retina, replacing it with a saline solution. The scar tissue is also removed. This surgery is effective in restoring clear central vision after a few months. If you are experiencing vision problems in Phoenix, contact Associated Retina Consultants today to schedule a retinal exam. Our doctors can pinpoint the source of your problems, fully explain your treatment options and then provide the necessary treatment to preserve your vision. Read More About Macular Puckers at ASRS

Ocular Melanoma

The most common cancer of the eye is melanoma, also known as ocular melanoma. Melanoma is a type of cancer that develops in the cells responsible for producing the pigment that gives your skin, hair and eyes color. Just as you can develop a melanoma on your skin, you can also develop it in your eye. Although it is the most common type of eye cancer in adults, ocular melanoma is rare. Ocular melanoma also known as uveal melanoma because it usually develops in the part of the eyeball called the uvea — a layer in the eye wall between the sclera and retina. Melanoma nearly always develops in the part of the uvea called the choroid, a pigmented layer lining the eyeball, because choroid cells have the same kind of pigment as cells in skin. While most ocular melanoma begins in the choroid, a smaller number develop in the iris (also a part of the uvea), which is the colored area around the pupil. Melanomas in the iris usually grow slowly and generally don’t spread to other areas of the body.

Primary Intraocular Lymphoma

Primary intraocular lymphoma (lymphoma of the eye) is a kind of cancer that involves the body’s white blood cells, or lymphocytes, located throughout the body. Lymphomas can also start in organs such as the lungs, stomach, and rarely, the eyes. The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Primary intraocular lymphoma is always a non-Hodgkin’s B cell lymphoma. Most people with primary intraocular lymphoma are elderly or have disorders that weaken the immune system such as AIDS. Primary intraocular lymphoma often occurs with lymphoma of the brain, called primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL).
Read more about Primary Intraocular Lymphoma at American Academy of Ophthalmology.


A different kind of eye cancer, called retinoblastoma, affects young children. Caused by a genetic mutation, it begins in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. Retinal nerve cells begin to grow and multiply, then usually spread into the eye and possibly other parts of the body. Other types of cancers can affect the eye. Orbital cancers affect the tissues surrounding the eyeball (called the orbit), including muscles that move the eyeball around and nerves attached to the eyeball. Adnexal structures are other parts of the eye called accessory structures, and include the eyelids and tear glands. Cancers that develop in these tissues are called adnexal cancers.
Read more about Retinoblastoma at American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes abnormal, fragile blood vessels to grow under the center of the retina (the macula, located at the back of the eye). These blood vessels are not strong enough to do their job, so they often leak blood and fluid. This excess fluid in the macula leads to central vision loss. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) can be performed to seal off the abnormal blood vessels. During the procedure, a light-sensitive drug called Visudyne is injected into a vein in your arm or hand. The drug collects in the abnormal blood vessels. A special contact lens is then placed into your eye and a laser is shined precisely into an exact spot on your eye to activate the medication. Only the abnormal blood vessels are affected by this process. PDT can be very effective to help improve vision, but it may take several treatments to achieve the best results. Not all forms of abnormal blood vessels respond to this treatment. This can all be done in our office as an outpatient procedure. Anesthetic eye drops will be administered to make this a comfortable procedure.

PDT Recovery

After a PDT treatment, you will need to have someone drive you home. Your eyes and even your skin will be sensitive to light for several days. We will remind you to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to your appointment and will recommend you wear gloves, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when you leave our office to cover all exposed skin. It is important to stay indoors and avoid any type of sun exposure or bright lights on your skin or in your eyes. Even sunscreen will not be effective to protect your skin against reactions. PDT is not only a treatment for wet AMD; it can also be used in patients with ocular histoplasmosis syndrome, myopic degeneration and abnormal blood vessel growth from other causes. To learn more about photodynamic therapy in Phoenix, please contact us to schedule an appointment.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an eye disease in some premature babies born before 31 weeks. (A full-term pregnancy is about 38–42 weeks.) It is a problem that affects the tissue at the back of the eye called the retina. The retina senses light and sends signals to the brain so you can see. With ROP, unwanted blood vessels grow on the baby’s retina. These blood vessels can cause serious eye and vision problems later. ROP can go away on its own as an infant grows. If it does not go away, however, it needs to be treated. Otherwise, the child can have severe vision loss, or even go blind. Doctors do not know for sure what causes ROP. Blood vessels in the eyes normally finish developing a few weeks before birth. An infant who is born early is exposed to many different things. Medicine, oxygen, bright lights, or temperature changes might affect how an eye’s blood vessels develop. Here are some of the things doctors think might contribute to ROP:
  • Low birth weight (just under 3 pounds or less).
  • How early a baby is born. A premature baby born at 28 weeks has a greater risk of having ROP than a premature baby born at 32 weeks.
  • Giving the infant extra oxygen after birth.
  • Caucasian (white) babies are more likely to get ROP than babies who are African-American.
  • Premature infants are also more likely to get ROP if they have other health problems. These problems include anemia (low levels of iron in the blood), not enough vitamin E, or breathing problems.
Learn More Here:

Retinal Artery Occlusion

Retinal artery occlusion refers to blockage of the retinal artery carrying oxygen to the nerve cells in the retina at the back of the eye. The lack of oxygen delivery to the retina may result in severe loss of vision.


Retinal artery occlusion is usually associated with sudden painless loss of vision in one eye. The area of the retina affected by the blocked vessels determines the area and extent of visual loss.
  • The main artery supplying blood to the eye is the ophthalmic artery; when it is blocked, it produces the most damage. A blockage in the main artery in the retina is called central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO), which often results in severe loss of vision. However, about 25% of people who develop CRAO have an extra artery called a cilioretinal artery in their eyes. When CRAO occurs, having a cilioretinal artery can greatly lessen the chances of damage to your central vision, as long as the cilioretinal artery is not affected.
  • A blockage in a smaller artery is called branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO); this may cause a loss of a section of your visual field, such as your vision to one side. If the affected area is not in the center of the eye or is relatively small, a BRAO may go unnoticed with no symptoms.
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Uveitis occurs when the middle layer of the eyeball gets inflamed (red and swollen). This layer, called the uvea, has many blood vessels that nourish the eye. Uveitis can damage vital eye tissue, leading to permanent vision loss. You are more likely to get uveitis if you have or have had: Infections such as:
  • Shingles Virus
  • Herpes Simplex Virus
  • Syphilis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Parasites such as Toxoplasmosis
Systemic Inflammatory Disease such as:
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
Smoking (cigarettes, cigars or pipes) also increases your risk of getting uveitis. Uveitis can develop suddenly. Symptoms can include:
  • Sensitivity to Bright Light
  • Blurry Vision
  • Red eye with or without pain.
  • Seeing “floaters” (specks or moving clouds in your vision) all of a sudden.
Uveitis needs to be treated right away to prevent lasting problems. Ophthalmologists often treat uveitis with eyedrop medicine that reduces inflammation (corticosteroids). They may also use an eye drop to widen (dilate) the pupil, which helps reduce pain and swelling. Sometimes medicine may need to be given by injection (shots) or taken by mouth. If you would like to learn more about Uveitis visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology: What is Uveitis?

If you would like to learn more about specific retinal diseases you can visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology: Eye Health A-Z or the American Society of Retina Specialists: Retinal Diseases.

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