Retina Health

Retina Care in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and the Tri-Cities Region

Located in the back of the eye, the retina has perhaps one of the most important roles when it comes to providing the precious gift of sight. Faced with this crucial responsibility, any conditions, illnesses, or injuries affecting the retina may represent a serious health concern, significantly reducing vision function.

Since 1980, Southeastern Retina Associates has emerged as a leading destination for advanced vitreoretinal care and treatment for patients in Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and the entire Tri-Cities region. We provide comprehensive diagnostic retinal testing using a full suite of state-of-the-art technology and develop personalized treatment plans for many retinal, macular, and vitreous conditions.

The Importance of Retina Health

By ensuring proper retinal health, we help to maintain our patients’ quality of life by preserving their vision. The benefits of seeing us for specialty retina care include:

  • Improved visual outcomes
  • Detecting and diagnosing retinal disorders at their earliest stages
  • Reducing or preventing their progression
  • Identifying general health concerns, such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and liver disease

Retina Conditions Treated at Southeastern Retina Associates

Retinal Anatomy

The Retina

The retina is an ultrathin nerve layer, only 0.5 millimeters at its widest point, about the tip of a pencil point. When light enters through the lens at the front of the eye and passes through the vitreous, it makes contact with the retina’s photosensitive (light-sensitive) cells, called rods and cones, which transform light into electrical signals. The signals move to your brain along the optic nerve, where the visual processing center coordinates the information into images, enabling sight.

The Macula

The retina’s center, this yellow-pigmented area is responsible for central vision, allowing you to see fine, straight-ahead images and perform close-up activities. In particular, the macula’s center, the fovea handles this responsibility, as it has the eye’s highest level of visual acuity (distinguishing objects at a given distance).

Photoreceptor Cells

The retina is made up of about 125 million photoreceptors (light-sensitive cells), known as rods and cones. Incoming light targets them, activating molecules called photopigments, which absorb light and improve visual processing to provide a clear, accurate picture, including light, color, and fine details. Rods help you see in dim light and at night, while cones, which represent the majority of regular vision, process color and fine details.

The Vitreous

Also called the vitreous gel or humor, this clear, jelly-like substance comprises about 80% of the eye’s total volume, except for the lens and the retina. The vitreous maintains the eye’s structure and offers an unobstructed pathway for light to reach the retina.

Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE)

The outermost retinal layer, the RPE nourishes the retina, supports vital metabolic processes, and plays an important role in light absorption. It possesses a high concentration of melanin, a natural eye pigment that absorbs harmful ultraviolet (UV) and blue light.

The Optic Nerve

Comprised of over one million nerve fibers, the optic nerve serves as the final layer of neurons in the retina, connecting the eye directly to the brain. The brain receives signals from both eyes simultaneously to create one cohesive visual image.

What Should I Expect During My Retina Exam?

When you come in for your first retinal exam at Southeastern Retina Associates, we’ll make every effort to put you at ease. We’ve provided all of the information you’ll need to prepare for your appointment, including the required forms to complete, what to bring, and what to expect from the exam itself.