Ophthalmology Terms

Amsler Grid — a grid of horizontal and vertical lines used to monitor a person's central visual field. The grid was developed by Marc Amsler, a Swiss ophthalmologist. It is a diagnostic tool that aids in the detection of visual disturbances caused by changes in the retina, particularly the macula (e.g. macular degeneration, Epiretinal membrane), as well as the optic nerve and the visual pathway to the brain.

Choroid — Sandwiched between the retina and the sclera is a tissue abundant in blood vessels, called the choroids.

Cornea — The transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber.

Cryotherapy — Is the application of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue. Its goal is to decrease cellular metabolism, increase cellular survival, decrease inflammation, decrease pain and spasm, promote vasoconstriction, and to destroy cells by crystallizing the cytosol.

Edema — An abnormal accumulation of fluid which causes swelling.

Eye lens — A transparent, biconvex structure in the eye that, along with the cornea, helps to refract light to be focused on the retina. By changing shape, the lens functions to change the focal distance of the eye so that it can focus on objects at various distances, thus allowing a sharp image of the object of interest to be formed on the retina.

Enucleation — Is the surgical removal of the eye.

Fluorescein angiogram — A more complex photographic technique, permits additional views of the retina when a special vegetable-based dye is injected into a vein your arm. This is not an X-ray and the dye contains no iodine. All of our offices are equipped with dark room facilities and digital image computers to process your films and when necessary results can be obtained at the time of your initial visit.

Fundus photographs — Provide a view of the interior of the eye, including the retina and macula, and are taken by a special camera attached to a low power microscope.

Iris — A thin, circular structure in the eye responsible for controlling the diameter and size of the pupils and thus the amount of light reaching the retina.

Kenalog — or Triamcinolone is a long-acting synthetic corticosteroid given orally, by injection, inhalation, or as a topical ointment or cream to reduce inflammation.

Lucentis/Avastin — Drugs that block angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. Many diseases of the eye, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy, damage the retina and cause blindness when blood vessels around the retina grow abnormally and leak fluid, causing the layers of the retina to separate. This abnormal growth is caused by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF is a protein that stimulates blood vessel growth). Lucentis and Avastin have been successfully used to inhibit VEGF and slow this growth.

Macula — The central area of the retina is called the macula. The macula is responsible for sharp, central vision. Good central vision is critical for activities such as reading, driving, and sewing. If the macula is damaged by disease, the "straight ahead" vision is affected. The rest of the retina is responsible for peripheral vision.

Optic nerve — Also called cranial nerve 2, transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Derived from the embryonic retinal ganglion cell, a diverticulum located in the diencephalon, the optic nerve doesn't regenerate after transection.

Retina — In a manner similar to a camera, light enters the front of your eye through the cornea and lens and is brought to focus on the back of your eye on the tissue called the retina. In a sense, the retina functions like the film in a camera. From there, the signals are transmitted to the brain, thereby creating sight.

Sclera — Also known as the white or white of the eye, is the opaque, fibrous, protective, outer layer of the eye containing collagen and elastic fiber.

Ultrasound — Procedure which records sound waves reflected from the tissues of the eye creates a video image to permit the doctors to see inside the eye and to make special measurements.

Vitreous — The clear gel that fills the central cavity of the eye.