Atherosclerosis is a systemic disease that affects the entire body. If an ophthalmologist suddenly determines vascular atherosclerosis when examining the retina, he will definitely refer you to a cardiologist. Because the human body is a single entity, and if the problem is identified in one area, then we can safely say that the entire cardiovascular system needs to be treated.
Symptoms of retinal atherosclerosis
Vessels are the vital arteries, supplying oxygen and nutrients to every cell in our body. However, any malfunction in the blood supply leads to the failure of all organs, including the retina.
So what are the symptoms of retinal atherosclerosis? People experience constant discomfort, headaches, and shadows in the eyes. These conditions are often accompanied by fatigue and dizziness.
If you have these symptoms, do not miss the onset of this dangerous disease and make an appointment with a doctor at a specialized ophthalmology center as soon as possible.
What is retinal atherosclerosis and why is it dangerous?
The retina is a very sensitive and delicate part of the eye, with a complex structure and many nerve endings and vessels. If they are well supplied with oxygen and nutrients, everything works fine. But any malfunction in the blood supply can cause vision problems. Atherosclerosis is one of them. What is it?
This disease is related to metabolism and such a concept as “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Well, “bad” cholesterol is deposited on the walls of blood vessels, and the lumen in the artery is reduced, the vessel is blocked, the normal blood supply to the eye is disturbed, and retinal atherosclerosis occurs. Actually, vascular atherosclerosis should be mentioned correctly because the condition does not occur locally. Usually, retinal atherosclerosis is a secondary manifestation of this condition. In fact, the disease has been in your body for a long time and has occupied more than one vessel.
Reasons for retinal atherosclerosis
One of the major causes is a disorder of lipid metabolism, which leads to the appearance of cholesterol plaques on the walls of blood vessels and their occlusion.
Here are the factors that have a decisive impact on the failure of the metabolic system
- Genetic predisposition;
- Overeating, unhealthy food;
- Bad habits: alcohol, smoking;
- Stressful situations, overwork, and constant anxiety;
- Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and endocrine disorders;
- High blood viscosity and tendency to thrombosis;
- Hormonal disorders;
- Increased blood clotting ability.
Retinal atherosclerosis often occurs due to age-related factors. The older we get, the more vascular problems appear. And we can add that, according to doctors’ observations, this condition is more common among the male population.
Just like other retinal conditions, atherosclerosis is difficult to detect at an early stage. As a rule, the striking symptoms emerge when the disease is in full swing and you need to rush to the doctor. This is why it is crucial to have regular eye exams at a specialized ophthalmology center equipped with state-of-the-art devices allowing for an exact measurement of all eye parameters. Of course, one has to pay more attention to himself and to the signals his body is transmitting.
- Rapid eye fatigue;
- Shadows in front of the eyes;
- Flickering, streaks, or glare before the eyes;
- Vision deterioration, etc.
Naturally, all these symptoms are often accompanied by a generally poor state of your health. When you feel sicker and your sleep is disturbed, fatigue and loss of energy may occur.
To diagnose the disease, you need to undergo a comprehensive eye exam with obligatory pupil dilation. This is the only way for an ophthalmologist to evaluate your eye ground and the walls of the retinal vessels.
Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic offers a consultation with a retinologist, an ophthalmologist who specializes in the treatment of retinal diseases, for a more detailed and accurate diagnosis of retinal conditions.
The retinologist may prescribe additional examinations, such as:
- Fluorescent angiography;
- Optical coherence tomography;
- CT, MRI, etc.
All of the narrow-focused retinal examinations can be performed right at Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic, providing all the conditions for accurate diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases.
Additional examinations may determine the thickness of the retinal vascular walls, the degree of narrowing and width of the lumen, the structure of the capillaries, and the possibility of blood clots and hemorrhages.
Treatment of retinal atherosclerosis
Detailed diagnostics of the optic system make it possible to determine the stage of atherosclerosis and the condition of the retina. All this enables the ophthalmologist to choose the most effective treatment individually.
Methods of treating retinal atherosclerosis:
— Drug therapy. Mainly medicines are used to treat the disease, thus improving blood circulation, activating metabolic processes, normalizing blood cholesterol levels, etc. As well, the doctor may prescribe drops and vitamins. An ophthalmologist chooses a detailed treatment regimen individually for each patient.
— Surgical treatment. In advanced stages of atherosclerosis, which may provoke serious complications, the following surgical interventions are performed:
- Laser photocoagulation of the retina. This is a modern, effective, painless, and safe procedure. The laser beam cauterizes the affected areas and thus “turns them off”.
- A surgical procedure in which the vitreous body is completely removed. It is used for more serious forms of vision damage.
Laser photocoagulation of the retina and vitrectomy are surgical techniques for treating retinal atherosclerosis, which are used when there is a complication of the general disease.
Preventing retinal atherosclerosis
To prevent atherosclerosis, it is essential to follow a healthy lifestyle. Give up fried and fatty foods, which increase the level of “bad” cholesterol and can provoke vascular disease. Of course, it is necessary to undergo regular eye exams, especially at an older age and with a tendency to vascular diseases.
An eye exam should be carried out only in a specialized ophthalmology center, where they will check the visual system as much as possible and prescribe the correct treatment.
Do not neglect the problem. The earlier the disease is detected, the easier it is to cope with.