California Retina Specialist

California Retina Specialist California Retina Specialist

Our California retina specialist team has received numerous honors and are board certified ophthalmologists dedicated to ensuring that our patients receive excellent care. The five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing are critical to how we experience the world. We take in our environment through these senses, and when one of them is lacking or no longer working, the body can be set out of balance as the other senses begin to overcompensate. Your vision is one of the five senses, and should you be facing issues or problems, seeking proper care from an ophthalmologist will be critical. At Retina Associates of Orange County, our team knows you have questions, and by scheduling an appointment with us, we can help explore the answers.

What is a retina specialist?

A retina specialist is an ophthalmologist who specializes in treatment for eye disease and even provides eye surgery. A retina specialist must have extensive training and educational experience that amounts to up to 10 years of training. Retina specialists have a very precise job to do when administering treatment to patients as they are working within a small space, with incredibly delicate tissue and require the use of lasers and microscopes during the process. Types of conditions a retina specialist treats include:

  • Macular Degeneration
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Macular Edema
  • Retinal Tears 
  • Retinal Detachments
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion

How does a retina specialist differ from an ophthalmologist?

As a prospective patient, our California retina specialist knows that you may be wondering why you can’t just see an ophthalmologist for treatment for issues related to the eye. Ophthalmologists must undergo extensive training and have the ability to both diagnose and treat eye diseases. In addition, to fitting people for contact lenses and eyeglasses, an ophthalmologist works to prevent, diagnose, and treat eye disease. A retina specialist has typically completed fellowship training and ultimately focuses on diagnosing and treating retina disease.

What are the signs that I should see a retina specialist?

Vision issues should never be taken lightly, and if you notice irregularities or signs that there is a problem, you must immediately seek care from a retina specialist. One of the primary reasons someone might seek a retinal specialist is for a retinal detachment. If you are experiencing any of the following, it will be critical that you seek care from a retinal specialist as soon as possible:

  • A shadow in your vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Flashes of light
  • Impact on your peripheral vision

What is the risk of putting off necessary treatments?

Your vision is critical, and failing to seek treatment can cause serious issues. If you have vision problems, or if your ophthalmologist has referred you to a retina specialist, it’s critical to act as soon as possible. Failing to treat a condition like a retinal tear can permanently impact a person’s vision, resulting in vision loss and even blindness.

Our team at Retina Associates of Orange County have engaged in research pertaining to clinical trials and are always striving to stay up to date on the latest retina technology and treatment. Your vision is important, which is why we are so dedicated to providing our patients with cutting edge treatment aimed at providing the best possible solutions to your issues. Whether you have experienced eye trauma or are suffering an age-related condition, retinal detachment, or even cancer, our California Retina Specialist may be able to help.

California Retina Specialist Infographic


When You Should See a Retina Specialist

A retina specialist is an ophthalmologist with advanced training to treat diseases affecting the eye’s vitreous gel and retina. It is advisable to meet with a California retina specialist under the following circumstances. 

A Foreign Object In Your Eye

When a foreign object gets into your eye, it is essential to seek medical treatment as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Retina Associates of Orange County advise individuals to avoid rubbing their eyes, which can cause additional damage before a doctor can safely remove the object. 

You Have Diabetes

Patients with diabetes are susceptible to blurry vision and blindness when blood vessels supplying nutrients to the retina burst and cause retinal scars. Although the damage to the retina may be irreversible, a retina doctor can examine the back of the eye to detect subtle changes that could lead to better management of diabetes to prevent blindness. 

You Experience Eye or Head Trauma

Blunt force trauma is a leading cause of retinal damage causing the delicate retina at the back of the eye to detach from the supportive layer of blood vessels that supply it with nutrients. This type of injury requires urgent medical treatment to prevent blindness. Therefore, when individuals see floaters, flashing lights, or shadows in their visual field immediately following trauma, they should seek treatment from a California retina specialist who can use surgery or other means to push the retina back in place and reattach it.

You Have Sudden Vision Loss

Although sudden vision loss can happen following retinal detachment from trauma, the Retina Associates of Orange County doctors also see this symptom among patients diagnosed with glaucoma, diabetes, and a high risk for stroke, which can cause central retinal artery occlusion. CRAO results when plaque and other conditions cause excessive pressure in the central retinal artery, leading to its blockage. Treatment may include therapy to infuse oxygen into the oxygen-starved retina. Medications, including intravenous tissue plasminogen activator, may also be necessary to break up clots that a retina doctor detects.

You Experience An Increase of Floaters and Flashes

Floaters resemble spots, strings, and cobwebs that appear to float across your field of vision. They tend to increase with age as fibers within the eye’s gel-like vitreous form clumps that cast shadows across the retina. Likewise, momentary flashes of light can occur when the vitreous gel shrinks and tugs at the retina. Both conditions are usually harmless, though individuals should seek an evaluation by a California retina specialist when symptoms suddenly increase or are accompanied by vision loss. 

Retina Associates of Orange County doctors can detect and treat a broad range of conditions that affect vision.

What Is Your Retina?

Your retina helps you to see. It is a thin layer of tissue behind your eye. Your retina absorbs hues and degrees of light through its light-sensitive cells. It, along with other cells, organize the spectrum of colors into organized shades that range from light to dark. Your retina allows you to perceive shades and distinguish where certain colors begin and end, as well as how colors differ. In other words, your retina plays a significant role in you being able to distinguish yellow from green and blue from purple. 

When something goes wrong with your retina, it can be frightening and frustrating. With there being a long list of possible retina diseases and different treatments available, it is imperative that you contact a California retina specialist as soon as you notice a difference in how you perceive colors or in your vision overall.

When it comes to your eye health you may think that having your ophthalmologist available is all that you need. That isn’t always the case depending on what sort of issues you are may be experiencing with your eyes. There are different scenarios when you will need the help of a California retina specialist and your regular eye doctor can refer you to the Retina Associates of Orange County for further assistance. It’s smart to be aware of the following symptoms and situations that indicate it is time to visit a retina specialist.

Odd Flashes of Light or Excessive Floaters

It is jarring to experience new and strange flashes of light in your vision and having many new floaters can be very surprising. It’s important to come to the Retina Associates of Orange County if you are experiencing something like this. This symptom could be an indicator of a torn or detached retina and should be addressed quickly.

Missing Spots in Your Vision

Missing spots in your eyesight could be a sign of a macular hole. An experienced California Retina Specialist can help determine the cause of your issues and will be prepared to repair it. Surgery is often required to get your eyesight back to a healthy place. It is important to ask for a referral to the Retina Associates of Orange County swiftly if you are experiencing gaps in your vision. Don’t just think that your vision is changing from old age. This is also a condition that has a chance to spread from one eye to the other. So it’s extra important to find a physician you trust that you can see regularly.

Distortions or Reduced Central Vision

You will need to seek out a California retina specialist if you suddenly are looking at items or lines that you know are straight but that appear bent to you. Experiencing visual distortions or blocked vision in your central line of sight are both symptoms of age-related macular degeneration. Retina Associates of Orange County can determine the cause of these issues and help treat the condition or slow down the effects of the disease. Seeking out answers quickly from a trusted doctor is the best course of action you can take.

It’s important to take your vision seriously and be educated about different eye diseases that can arise during your lifespan. Having a California retina specialist you know and trust can mean faster care for you and those you love.

California Retina Statistics

One of the most serious complications of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, which is the most common type of diabetic eye disease. According to statistics from the National Eye Institute (NEI), more than 7.7 million people over the age of 40 suffer from diabetic retinopathy. It is predicted that number will increase to more than 11 million people by the year 2030. This condition is the leading cause of blindness for adults.

FAQs About Retina Specialists

What Do They Do?

Our doctors at the Retina Associates of Orange County use special equipment to examine your retina and any blood vessels connected to it. Aside from exams, it is also common for these doctors to treat eye injuries, disease, cancer and perform eye surgeries. 

What Education Do They Receive?

A California retina specialist went to medical school, specialized in ophthalmology, and further specialized in the retina. Their typical education consists of a bachelor’s degree, four years in medical school, an internship, three years as an ophthalmology resident, and another year or two in a retina fellowship. 

Can They Fix a Retinal Tear?

Tears in the retina are dangerous because they let vitreous fluids seep behind your retina. Your doctor may suspect you have one if you suddenly experience floaters, a shadow, light flashes, or blurred vision. You will be sent to a California retina specialist immediately, so the hole doesn’t lead to a detached retina. Detached retinas are a severe emergency because the retina detaches from its blood supply. If it isn’t fixed immediately, you’ll permanently lose your vision. 

Can They Remove Foreign Bodies?

Retina specialists can closely examine your eye after something pierces it. Then, they’ll be able to look deeper into your eyeball to see if anything remains and remove it. 

Can They Remedy Endophthalmitis?

Endophthalmitis is a severe infection that will damage your eye. Generally, this occurs after an eye injury or surgery. Retina specialists can help by injecting antibiotics into your eyeball to stop the infection and provide solutions to reduce swelling and damage. 

Can They Help With PDR?

High blood pressure can damage blood vessels supplying the retina and cause PDR. PDR is your body’s attempt to remedy this damage by creating blood vessels gone wrong. The result is that blood leaks into your eye, scar tissue forms, and your retina is in danger of detaching. Fortunately, retina specialists can perform surgery to remove the newly formed blood vessels and stop them from causing damage. 

Can They Help With AMD?

ADM occurs when your blood vessels leak, which pushes the retina away and threatens detachment. The result can be anything from distorted vision to permanent vision loss. Fortunately, our doctors at the Retina Associates of Orange County can inject medication into the blood vessels to stop them from pushing the retina further away. 

Can They Help With RVO?

Retinal vein occlusion is when one of the veins that carry blood away from your retina is blocked. Bleeding, swelling, and loss of vision are the signs of this problem. Retina specialists offer injections and laser treatments to reduce the damage to your eye. 

Types Of Retina Diseases

Unfortunately, there are numerous retina diseases. Fortunately, a qualified, skilled specialist can discern what is wrong with your retina, whether it is your retina or another optic-related tissue that is the issue, and work on providing a remedy. But please bear in mind that not all retina diseases can be prevented entirely. Some retina issues can only be reduced, while others can be staved off for some time. In other cases, the condition of your retina-related issues may improve significantly, and your impaired vision may even be restored. But retina diseases that are not tended to, by a specialist, at all will almost certainly result in permanent damage, including blindness.

Macular degeneration: When this occurs, the center of your retina starts deteriorating. The result is that there appears to be a “hole” or “blind spot” in the center of your vision whenever you open your eyes.

Macular hole: When this occurs, a hole forms in the center of your retina, and the result is very similar to if you experience macular degeneration.

Retinal tear: When this occurs, there is a tear between your vitreous and retina, which results in floaters and sparks appearing in your vision.

Retinal detachment: When this occurs, most likely, fluid has gotten between the tear between your vitreous and retina cells. This fluid literally carries the retina away, further damaging your vision.

Retinitis pigmentosa: When this occurs, you’ll experience what is commonly called “night blindness” where you can see at any time of day until it begins to get dark. Once it’s dark, you’ll struggle organizing lights and outlines of shapes, such as the lines in the streets and car distances. It is genetic, as in inherited.

Common Causes of Retina Injuries

Knowing what causes your retina disease is necessary to know how to treat your retina injury, as well as to know the likelihood of the degree by which your vision can be improved. Your retina injury or disease may be caused by:

  • Blunt force trauma to the eye(s)
  • Genetic diseases
  • Bacteria
  • Viral infection
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Old age

How to Prepare for an Appointment with a Retina Specialist

If you are suspected to have a disease of the retina, your first step is to schedule an appointment with a California retina specialist. These examinations take longer than traditional eye examinations, so plan to be there for at least two hours. Here are a few tips to prepare for your appointment:

  • Leave Early: Many offices will give you the opportunity to fill out new patient paperwork online. However, if you wish to fill these documents out in person, you should try to arrive at your appointment about 15 minutes early. This way, you will have enough time to fill out the paperwork and ask questions.
  • Bring the Right Items: To make your appointment go smoothly and quickly, there are a few items you will need to bring, including a photo ID, insurance card, referral from a doctor and sunglasses to wear after your appointment. If you take any medications, you should also write the names of them down on a notepad and bring them with you to the exam. Your retina specialist will want to know what types of medications you are currently taking, and you do not want to forget any.
  • Prepare a List of Questions: If you might have a retina condition, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind. You should not hesitate to ask any of these questions during your appointment. For instance, you may want to know what treatment options are available and what sorts of activities you should avoid. The more questions you ask, the more you will know about your condition. Write these questions in a notebook so that you don’t forget them.
  • Arrange for Transportation: When you see a California retina specialist, he or she will dilate your eyes for the exam. Your vision may be blurry as a result, so it is not safe for you to drive home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home from your appointment.
  • Bring a Friend or Family Member: Having an appointment with a California retina specialist may be nerve-wracking at first, so don’t hesitate to ask a close family member or friend to accompany you. They can offer you the support you need and listen to the information the specialist provides about your condition. Your loved one may catch information that you could have missed.

Preparing a Child to Visit a Retinal Specialist

Consulting with an eye doctor when something feels terribly wrong can be unnerving even for the most ordinarily calm, composed, and unflappable adults. When children have experienced an eye injury or have developed worrisome eye symptoms, the anxiety level that they may experience when visiting a Southern California retina specialist can be especially intense.

It can be helpful for children to know what to expect as they prepare to visit our facilities and to consult with our physicians. While parents are often inclined to keep discussions of what to expect at a minimum, so as to not stress their children out in advance of their visit, most kids thrive on an understanding of what to expect. Setting expectations early can give kids time to process what is about to happen.

If your child is quite young and isn’t suffering from an eye injury or symptoms that make observing an electronic screen painful, you may want to put on an episode of a favorite childhood character visiting the eye doctor. For example, there is an episode of Peppa Pig called “The Eye Test” wherein Peppa visits the eye doctor. There is also a Sesame Street episode in which Abby Cadabby and Prince Charming visit the eye doctor. Both of these episodes can usually be viewed at no cost on YouTube.

Regardless of your child’s age, you can explain the basics of what attending this visit will entail. You can explain that your child will be called back to a patient room that will feature a large chair and some interesting looking medical equipment. You should also explain that while their symptoms or injury may be uncomfortable or painful already, no part of your child’s examination should intensify that pain or discomfort. Most of the time, kids want to know if a new experience is going to be scary or will hurt. While some of the medical equipment used in our offices can seem a little scary, it isn’t used for scary or painful purposes.

If your child doesn’t like people to be close to their face or may have trouble with having any kind of light shined in their eye or drops placed in their eyes, you may want to prepare them for these possibilities. Additionally, it may be helpful to bring along distractions, such as noise cancelling headphones hooked up to a story podcast, a favorite stuffed animal/lovie, a snack, and/or a blanket if your child will crave comfort. Sometimes, kids are required to wait a while during eye dilation or other procedure pauses. Your child will not be able to perceive books or screens clearly during dilation, so a distraction that doesn’t require concentrated vision (such as music or a story read out loud) would be ideal.

The experienced Southern California medical team at Retina Associates of Orange County understands that visiting the eye doctor can be scary for kids, especially when they are already navigating injury or challenging eye-related symptoms. Know that we will do all that we can to help make your child’s experience as low-stress as possible. 

Client Review

“I lost my vision and Dr. Eifrig restored it. Mine was a very challenging case. He is a talented surgeon. I highly recommend him.”
Kim Miller
Client Review