Eye Specialist & Ophthalmic Surgeon - Medical Retina · Uveitis · Cataract Surgery

Retinal conditions

1. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in Australia and in particular, affects those over the age of 50 years. This is a degenerative condition affecting the central part of the retina called the "macula". The macula is responsible for your detailed central vision, and it is what you are using to read this text right now, and to see people faces, read a book, or drive a car. There are two main forms of macular degeneration, "dry" AMD or "wet" AMD.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
(i) Dry macular degeneration is a slow onset but progressive condition that may cause gradual difficulty with your detailed vision like reading fine print. Dr Chang can assess your dry AMD, and provide you with practical advice that may help to protect your eyesight as much as possible.

Wet macular degeneration
(ii) Wet macular degeneration is a more rapidly progressing condition that may cause difficulty with your eye sight over a matter of few days to weeks. It typically causes distortions, waviness or blurring of the centre of your vision. This is an urgent eye problem and you need to seek specialist eye review as soon as possible. There are now highly effective treatments available for wet AMD that can prevent further vision loss or even restore your eyesight. After a thorough assessment and diagnosis, Dr Chang will be able to discuss the best treatment options for you.

2. Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy
All diabetic persons need to have their eyes checked regularly for diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes causes damage to the blood vessels all over the body that can lead to complications such as heart attack, stroke or vision loss. Diabetes can cause the blood vessels in the retina of the eye to leak, bleed or get blocked, which can all lead to loss of the eyesight.

The main causes of reduced vision in diabetic retinopathy are "macular oedema" (swelling of the central retina), blockage of blood supply to the central retina, or due to growth of abnormal blood vessels inside the eye that can bleed or pull on the retina. In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, the condition is symptomless, and so it is very important to have the eye checked by an eye specialist. If detected early, diabetic retinopathy can be treated and vision loss prevented.

Dr Chang is able to provide treatment of diabetic retinopathy by retinal laser treatment or newer intravitreal therapy.

3. Retinal vein occlusion

Retinal vein occlusion
Blockage of the retinal blood vessels inside the eye leads to bleeding and swelling of the retina, and consequent impairment of vision. Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) or central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) is like a "stroke of the eye", and can cause rapid blurring of vision. Patients over the age of 50 years or those with high blood pressure are particularly at risk of this eye condition. There are numerous treatment options for retinal vein occlusion that can prevent further vision loss or even improve the eye sight.

4. Flashes & floaters (retinal tear)

New onset of "flashes of light" (like lightening streaks or a camera flash going off) and/or dark "floaters" across the vision in one eye (like a cobweb or small specks) are possible warning symptoms of a retinal tear. Such symptoms should prompt urgent eye specialist examination to exclude a retinal tear, which if left untreated can lead to a retinal detachment and permanent loss of vision.

When diagnosed early, retinal tears can be treated by laser to surround the tear and protect it from enlarging or progressing to detachment of the retina. This safe treatment can be effective in protecting your retina from further damage and can be done in the clinic by Dr Chang.

If retinal tear is not treated early, patients may notice a black shadow or curtain in their peripheral vision, which slowly enlarges and can eventually cause loss of the central vision too. These are worrying symptoms for a detached retina, which needs to be diagnosed early before loss of central vision occurs. Retinal detachment requires eye surgery to re-attach the retina as soon as possible.

Cataract

Cataract

Cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens inside the eye, and is a leading cause of treatable vision impairment. With slowly developing cataract, the eye sight becomes increasing blurry, somewhat like looking through a misty dirty window instead of through a clear, transparent one. Cataract can also cause glare sensitivity or haloes around lights, difficulty reading despite updated glasses, difficulty driving at night, and reduction of colour discrimination.

Dr Chang performs cataract surgery as a day surgery. It involves keyhole surgery (without stitches) using a microscope and the latest technology to remove the cloudy lens. A clear new lens is then implanted in its original position inside the eye. As a cataract surgeon and retinal specialist, Dr Chang is able to provide expert assessment of not only the cataract but also to ensure that there are no other retinal or macular conditions that need to be considered before undertaking cataract surgery. This is particularly important in patients with co-existing macular disease such as AMD, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion or uveitis.

Uveitis

Uveitis is a group of conditions involving acute or chronic inflammation inside the eye. There are various forms and causes of uveitis, and it may also be referred to by other names such as iritis, anterior uveitis, intermediate uveitis, posterior uveitis or panuveitis. Uveitis often results due to aberrations of the immune system, but it can also be related to infections. Uveitis can cause symptoms such as an acutely painful red eye associated with light sensitivity, or more gradual onset of blurred vision and/or floaters. It may affect one or both eyes. Uveitis is an important cause of vision impairment, particularly in younger adults who may be working or studying. Ocular inflammation may occur in isolation in otherwise healthy persons, but not infrequently, it can be associated with inflammation affecting other parts of the body.

Uveitis can cause vision loss in numerous ways, including macular oedema (swelling of the central retina), cataract development and glaucoma. Fortunately, there are a number of medical and surgical treatment options for uveitis. Dr Chang is experienced in the diagnosis, investigation, and treatment of the various forms of uveitis.