Retina

Diagram of the Human Eye with Retina called out

What is the retina?

The retina is a thin membrane on the back of the eye that is lined with photoreceptor cells. These light-sensitive cells function to process light and convert it into neural signals that are sent to the brain for visual recognition.

Why is the retina important?

The retina plays a critical role in vision — if it is damaged, the brain won’t be able to receive visual information, which can result in permanent blindness. Often, the first signs of damage are hard to notice. By the time you notice a decrease in vision quality, the damage is irreversible.

It’s very important to monitor your eye health so retinal conditions can be detected and treated as early as possible. The best way to evaluate retinal health is to schedule regular exams with an eye care professional. If a retinal condition is caught early, your doctor can develop a treatment plan to prolong your vision.

What are common retinal conditions?

There are many conditions that can affect your retina, but some are more common than others.

Here are the eye conditions most likely to cause retinal damage:

Diabetic Retinopathy: Symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes can affect your retinal health. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to swell. When the vessels swell too much, they can start to leak and cause damage to the retina.

Macular Degeneration: Age-Related Macular Degeneration is one of the most common retinal conditions. It occurs when the photoreceptor cells in the macula — the center of the retina — begin to break down. As a result, central vision begins to fade.

Retinal Tear or Detachment: The vitreous, a gel that fills most of the eye, can sometimes shrink and pull the retina with it. This can result in a retinal tear or a complete detachment. When this happens, the symptoms are often immediate and include the sudden appearance of floaters in your field of vision. If you experience a tear or detachment, you should seek treatment immediately, as they are considered a medical emergency. If not immediately treated, a detachment can cause permanent blindness.

older man lining up golf shot

How do you maintain a healthy retina?

One of the best ways to maintain a healthy retina is to have good health in general. An active lifestyle and proper nutrition can help lower your risk of retinal disease, in addition to staying consistent with routine eye examinations. Since retinal damage is irreversible by the time your vision declines, early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent vision loss.

What happens during a retinal exam?

Most regular eye exams include a retinal exam. A comprehensive eye exam may include a detailed retinal scan using Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT). This test uses infrared technology to provide detailed images of the retina, which are typically better for detecting early stage retinal damage. Your doctor will recommend the tests that are right for you.

How often should you have an eye exam?

Adults ages 18-55 should schedule a comprehensive eye exam at least once every two years to check for changes in vision and to assess for a variety of eye conditions. Annual exams are recommended for adults over age 55 and individuals who are considered “at risk.” In addition to age, risk factors include eye injuries, complications from a surgery, diabetes, or a family history of eye disease.

If you experience problems with your vision, consult your eye doctor as soon as possible — don’t wait until your scheduled appointment. A sudden change in your eyesight could indicate a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Contact emergency services if your eye doctor isn’t available.

How do you treat a retinal condition?

There are a variety of treatment options for retinal damage. Treatment is typically most effective when used as early as possible to prevent further damage.

These treatments include:

– Anti-VEGF Injections: Certain medications can be injected into the eye in order to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels as a result of diabetic retinopathy. Anti-VEGF medications target the Vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, which is a type of protein that causes abnormal vessel growth in patients with diabetic retinopathy.

– Vitrectomy: The vitreous can cause issues when it pulls on the retina. A vitrectomy removes the gel-like substance and replaces it with an oilier substance that reduces the amount of tension it has on the retina.

– Focal or Scatter Laser Photocoagulation: One of the most common surgical methods used to treat diabetic retinopathy is laser surgery. Either a focused laser or a scattered laser is used to seal off leaking blood vessels in the retina, which causes the abnormal blood vessels to shrink and minimize damage.

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To our makua kāne. Mahalo for everything you do for our Islands children.

To our makua kāne. Mahalo for everything you do for our Islands' children. ... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago
Eye Center of Hawaii is now also serving patients in Lihue.  With optical services and comprehensive eye care, our doctors and staff are here for you. 
#EyeCenterofHawaii #Kauai #Lihue #EyeCare

Eye Center of Hawai'i is now also serving patients in Lihue. With optical services and comprehensive eye care, our doctors and staff are here for you.
#eyecenterofhawaii #kauai #lihue #eyecare
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6 days ago
Please welcome our newest Doctor, Craig Wilkerson, MD 🥳
Dr. Wilkerson is a comprehensive ophthalmologist specializing in cataract and anterior segment surgery. In addition, he provides medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma, diabetes and macular degeneration for our Kauai, Honolulu, Waipahu, Kahului offices. Welcome to the team!
#LoveLife #EyeCenterofHawaii #EyeCare

Please welcome our newest Doctor, Craig Wilkerson, MD 🥳
Dr. Wilkerson is a comprehensive ophthalmologist specializing in cataract and anterior segment surgery. In addition, he provides medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma, diabetes and macular degeneration for our Kauai, Honolulu, Waipahu, Kahului offices. Welcome to the team!
#lovelife #eyecenterofhawaii #eyecare
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1 week ago
June is Cataract Awareness Month, we want to ensure you are informed about what to look out for when its time for cataract surgery!
-Blurred, dim or vision that seems like you are looking through a waterfall
-Difficulty seeing in low light or at night
-Sensitivity to light: lights look too bright or glaring
-Colors are faded or muted
-Seeing ‘halo’ around lights
-New prescriptions no longer providing clear vision.
If you are having any of these symptoms, its time to call us. 
#LoveLife #EyeCenterofHawaii #Cataracts

June is Cataract Awareness Month, we want to ensure you are informed about what to look out for when it's time for cataract surgery!
-Blurred, dim or vision that seems like you are looking through a waterfall
-Difficulty seeing in low light or at night
-Sensitivity to light: lights look too bright or glaring
-Colors are faded or muted
-Seeing ‘halo’ around lights
-New prescriptions no longer providing clear vision.
If you are having any of these symptoms, it's time to call us.
#LoveLife #EyeCenterofHawaii #Cataracts
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2 weeks ago
Mahalo to our Honolulu patient, Charles. Your words mean everything to us. 
#TestimonialTuesday #EyeCenterofHawaii #LoveLife

Mahalo to our Honolulu patient, Charles. Your words mean everything to us.
#TestimonialTuesday #eyecenterofhawaii #lovelife
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2 weeks ago
Yesterday was Sunscreen Protection Day! 🌞  While protecting your skin, dont forget the delicate skin around your eyes and wear UV-protective sunglasses. #SunscreenDay #ProtectYourEyes #EyeCenterofHawaii

Yesterday was Sunscreen Protection Day! 🌞 While protecting your skin, don't forget the delicate skin around your eyes and wear UV-protective sunglasses. #SunscreenDay #protectyoureyes #eyecenterofhawaii ... See MoreSee Less

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Locations

OAHU LOCATIONS

Main Office Yacht Harbor Professional Center
1620 Ala Moana Boulevard
Suite 500
Honolulu, HI 96815
Tel: (808) 955-0255

Mary Savio Medical Plaza
98-1247 Kaahumanu Street Suite 310
Aiea, HI 96701
Tel: (808) 955-0255 

Pro Com Plaza
94-216 Farrington Highway
Suite B2-203
Waipahu, HI 96797
Tel: (808) 671-4778

HAWAII LOCATIONS

77-6399 Nalani Street 2nd Floor
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Tel: (808) 329-2010 

346 Waianuenue Ave
Hilo, HI 96720
Tel: (808) 935-4456

MAUI LOCATION

Kahului Building
23 Paa Street
Kahului, HI 96732
Tel: (808) 877-8955

KAUAI LOCATION

‍4418 Kukui Grove Street
Lihue, HI 96766
Tel: (808) 245-5377

Bennett Eye Institute has been transformed into Eye Center of Hawai’i.

In 1998, Dr. Michael Bennett laid the foundation for our journey, leading us to become the largest retinal practice in Hawai’i and one of the nation’s leaders in research. However, as the landscape evolved, we recognized the need to differentiate ourselves, leading to our transition to Bennett Eye Institute. Now, as Eye Center of Hawai’i, we come full circle, reflecting our dedication to delivering exceptional care with expanded services.