Is It Safe to Do Retina Operations at an Old Age?

The retina is a layer of cells located at the back of the eyeball. These cells are light-sensitive and trigger nerve impulses that pass through the optic nerve and into the brain. From there, a visual image is formed. If something happens to one or both of your retinas, like a tear or detachment, you may experience temporary or permanent vision loss.

Eyesight naturally declines with age

It is common for eyesight to deteriorate with age. Beginning in the early 40s, adults may notice more difficulty seeing clearly at close distances, especially while reading or working on a computer. With age people are at risk for developing more serious types of age-related eye conditions like: Macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vessel occlusions and detached retinas. Each of these conditions affects the retina in some way and requires surgery to repair it or stop it from getting worse.

Is retina surgery safe for elderly people?

Generally speaking, ophthalmic treatments have a low risk of complications. However, elderly people have a higher risk of complications from any surgical procedure—including retina operations. This is largely due to other age-related health conditions like: Increased blood pressure, clogged arteries, and heart and lung disease.

“It’s important to note that age isn’t the predominant factor for the safety of a patient during an operation,” said Dr. Mark Levitan. “It really comes down to the patient’s overall health.”

All that said, surgery on the elderly can be done safely—if doctors take the necessary precautions. The skilled ophthalmologists at Austin Retina Associates have vast experience successfully treating and repairing age-related eye conditions in older adults. If you or a loved one is struggling with untimely vision loss, we are here to safely help you.

For skilled retinal surgery in Austin, call 800-252-8259.

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is the leading cause of blindness among Americans over the age of 50, affecting nearly 15 million men and women in the United States.

Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive loss of central vision

Though it only accounts for three percent of your entire visual field, central vision is required to see anything that is straight in front of you.

“AMD often begins as a blurred area near the center of the vision and grows larger over time, explains Dr. Shelley Day. “Central vision is essential for any activity requiring fine, clear vision, like reading, cooking, writing or fixing things around the house.”

Central vision also helps with estimating distances and recognizing faces. Over time, blurred vision due to age-related macular degeneration can lead to distortion or even blank spots (loss of vision).

The area affected by age-related macular degeneration is the macula. The macula sits at the back of your eye and is made up of millions of light-sensing cells. When it gets injured or begins to deteriorate, you are at risk of losing your central vision.

Two forms of age-related macular degeneration

AMD is divided into two general categories, dry AMD (DAMD) and wet AMD (WAMD):


Approximately 90 percent of people diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration have DAMD. This is an early stage of the disease and occurs when small white or yellow deposits, called drusen, begin to form on the retina just beneath the macula. This may be asymptomatic or may cause slow gradual vision loss over time.


If the disease progresses into wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels begin growing under or near retina (toward the macula), which may leak blood and fluid. WAMD typically causes a sudden and more severe loss of vision and can be treated with intraocular injections of medication

While there is no known cure, there are techniques and tools available to help you learn how to live a full life with AMD, including:

  • Intravitreal injections
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  • A combination of these treatments

If you’re in need of age-related macular degeneration treatment in Austin or treatment for other eye conditions, call the skilled ophthalmologists and eye surgeons at Austin Retina Associates at 800-252-8259. We’ll help safeguard your central ‘fine’ vision from age-related vision loss.

What Are the Best Treatments for Retinal Tears?

How important is your retina? As the key to clear vision, the retina is the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Through the cornea, pupil and lens, we focus light rays onto the retina. The retina converts those light rays into impulses that travel through the optic nerve to our brain, where they are translated into our vision.

When a retinal tear occurs, you may see new floaters (small dots, specks or strings or clouds moving in your field of vision) or flashes of light. If a retinal tear is left untreated, it can progress to a retinal detachment, which can appear like a dark curtain moving toward your central vision. A retinal detachment is a very serious medical condition that almost always causes blindness unless it is treated. That’s why we provide advanced diagnosis and 24/7 treatment of retinal tears in Austin.

Treatment for retinal tears

At Austin Retina Associates, we begin by thoroughly assessing your retinal condition. Then we will recommend a procedure (or may discuss several treatment options) with you.

“Most retinal tears are treated during in-office procedures,” says Dr. Peter Nixon, “However, if a retinal tear progresses to a retinal detachment, surgery is almost always required at a local surgery center or hospital under either local or general anesthesia. Most patients go home the same day.”

Treatment options for retinal tears include:

  • Laser surgery (photocoagulation) – During this procedure, a laser is used to make small burns around the retinal tear. The scarring that results seals the retina to the underlying tissue, helping to prevent a retinal detachment.
  • Freezing treatment (cryopexy) – A special freezing probe is applied to the sclera (white part of the eye); freezing the retina around the retinal tear. The result is a scar that helps secure the retina to the eye wall.

Innovative treatments for retinal tears, from some of the best in Texas

At Austin Retina Associates, protecting your vision has been our mission for more than 30 years. Since 1978, we have led the way in specialized retinal care, using leading-edge technologies to preserve and protect the vision of millions of Central Texans. From retinal tears to macular degeneration to treating and managing diabetic eye disease, you and your family can count on our unfailing dedication to your healthy vision. If you think you may have a retinal tear, please call us immediately at 800-252-8259 and relay your symptoms to us.

To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified retina specialists, call 800-252-8259 or use our online form for non-urgent symptoms to request your appointment today.