Our fellowship trained, board certified retina specialists provide the highest-quality medical and surgical care. We use state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. We strive to provide the best personal care and achieve optimal vision outcomes. Our doctors see patients in Fort Collins and Loveland and work with referring doctors to provide care regionally in Northern Colorado, Eastern Colorado, Rocky Mountain Region, Southern Wyoming and Western Nebraska.
- Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Diabetic Eye Disease
- Macular Holes
- Macular Pucker (epiretinal membrane)
- Retinal Holes and Tears
- Retinal Detachments
- Vitreous Floaters
- Posterior Vitreous Detachment
- Retinal Vein Occlusion
- Retinal Artery Occlusion
The macula is a small area in the retina at the back of the eye that allows you to see fine details clearly and perform activities such as reading and driving. Macular degeneration is the deterioration or breakdown of the macula. It reduces vision in the central part of the retina; however, it does not affect the eye’s side or peripheral vision. Patients with wet macular degeneration often require consultation with a retina specialist. There are new treatments including Avastin & Lucentis which have revolutionized care.
DETACHED AND TORN RETINA
A retinal detachment is a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness if left untreated. A retinal detachment occurs when the retina is pulled away from its normal position. Early symptoms that may indicate the presence of retinal detachment include flashing lights, new floaters and/or a gray curtain moving across your field of vision. These symptoms do not always mean a retinal detachment is present; however, you should see your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Retinal detachment surgery can be performed at our outpatient surgery center by one of our retinal specialists.
The retina is the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and sends images to the brain. If you have diabetes mellitus, your body does not use and store sugar properly. High blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina. Through a dilated examination, your ophthalmologist can diagnose any diabetic retinopathy and determine if further testing or treatment is needed. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is key to preventing further damage to your retina. More complex cases may require a consultation with Dr. Kent Crews, our board certified, fellowship trained retina specialist.
RETINAL DETACHMENT FAQ
Why did I get a retinal detachment?
Most retinal detachments occur as a complication of the natural aging process of the eye. The vitreous jelly in the eye undergoes deterioration and liquification over time. It finally pulls off the retina, causing floaters and sometimes flashes of light. For most patients, this is a benign process. In a very small percentage of individuals, the vitreous will pull at and tear the retina. The retinal tear allows fluid to track underneath, and the retina starts to separate from the eye wall. Patients with nearsightedness, family history of retinal detachment or prior cataract surgery are at greater risk.
Are retinal detachments always a surgical emergency?
Patients with acute changes in vision (less than a couple of weeks) and good central vision may require emergent or urgent surgery. The goal is to reattach the retina before the central vision (macula) is involved. Studies show that patients with chronic symptoms (more than a couple of weeks) or a detachment involving central vision can usually wait a few days for surgery without causing any harm. Detachments affecting central vision are called macula off. There is excellent research showing that a repair within 7-10 days of central vision loss has just as good a result as emergency surgery. Only about 1 in 4 detachments are considered a surgical emergency.
Will my vision be just as good or better if all goes well with surgery?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is often times “No.” After retinal detachment surgery, many patients have some degree of dissatisfaction with their vision. Due to the very serious nature of this disease process, there is usually some permanent damage to either peripheral vision and/or central vision. YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT RETINAL DETACHMENTS ARE BLINDING IF LEFT UNTREATED. Unlike LASIK or cataract surgery, which clear up vision in an otherwise healthy eye, retinal detachment surgery involves helping a critically ill eye that will otherwise be lost. The goal of retinal detachment surgery is not to make you see better, it is to keep you from losing your eye.
Why did I have to see a retinal specialist for this problem?
Retinal detachment surgery is a very complex and challenging eye surgery. The retina is more delicate than any other structure in the body. Most procedures take over 2 hours to complete, and sometimes much longer. Retinal surgeons must go through additional years of intense training to learn how to do these procedures.
Why will I need cataract surgery afterward?
Due to the nature of modern repair techniques, most patients will need cataract surgery in the months following their retinal detachment surgery. This is a result of operating deep inside the eye and also from placing a gas bubble inside the eye to hold the retina in place while it heals. It is generally undesirable to replace the lens during retinal detachment surgery, so it has to be done later on. Cataract surgery is generally a faster and simpler operation and usually, the recovery is quick. Of course, this does not apply to patients who had cataract surgery before developing a retinal detachment.
Why do I have to position my head after surgery?
A gas bubble is almost always injected in the eye at the end of surgery. A gas bubble is similar to a beach ball submerged in water – it pushes up against gravity. Retinal surgeons use this technique to position the eye in a desirable location so that the bubble can hold the retina flat in place while it heals. Positioning is extremely important in retinal surgery outcomes and failure of the patient to position correctly may result in failure of the retina to stay reattached.
Why do I have so many post-operative appointments?
There are many things that can go wrong after uneventful retinal surgery. If problems are detected early, then it is often much easier to intervene and correct the issue. While this is a hassle, it is necessary for optimal outcomes. Please remember that your doctor does not get paid a penny extra for additional visits within three months after your surgery. Extra visits are to assure that your recovery is proceeding well.
What are your outcomes for retina surgery?
While every situation is different, Dr. Crews and Dr. Korotkin have very high success rates that are higher than the published national average. They both take great pride in their surgeries and take many careful steps in achieving successful outcomes.
Is my other eye at greater risk of a detachment?
The answer is: it depends. If the vitreous has already pulled free in the other eye, your risk of a detachment is quite low. If it has not pulled free, then the risk is substantial. Your other eye will be carefully examined. If there are any weak spots or tears, we will generally recommend preventative laser treatment. This is the case in about 10% of patients.
Are my siblings or children at greater risk of a detachment?
Genetics do play a role in retinal detachment. You should educate, but not terrify your family members about the symptoms of a vitreous and/or retinal detachment. We can provide you with educational brochures for your family if you would like.