The retina is the lining on the inner surface of the eye. It is made up of millions of light-sensitive nerve cells known as the rods and cones. The rods function mainly in dim light and black-and-white vision, while the cones support daytime vision in colour.
There are only, and very many cones in what is known as the yellow spot, the macula, or the "point of sharpest vision". Rods are more predominant around the edge of the retina. The macula is situated on the optical axis in the middle of the retina. Next to it is the blind spot, the point where the optic nerve leaves the eye (pupil). The optic nerve transmits data to the brain, and consists of up to 1.2 million nerve fibres that transfer optical information from the retina to the visual centre in the brain, where the actual image is created.
Univ.- Prof. Dr. Bernd Kirchhof
Open your eyes to eyesight
The retina has no pain fibres. This means there is no pain, normally a warning sign that can indicate early development of a disease of the retina. And this is why any changes to the eye or in the quality of vision should be pursued assiduously and constantly monitored.
The Eye Center Cologne has all the latest diagnostic equipment and means on the highest technical level that can identify the early stages of a disease so the appropriate and effective therapy can be given.
State-of-the-art medicine and treatments
According to the WHO, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are two of the main causes of blindness in adults. So they are also two of the main focuses of the research carried out at the Eye Center Cologne.
In age-related macular degeneration (AMD), metabolic disturbances in the retina cause deposits under it that can reduce vision, and cause swelling or bleeding.
The Eye Center Cologne is one of the world's leading facilities in the development of innovative treatment methods aimed at preventing blindness caused by macular degeneration. For instance, stereotactic radiation therapy of the macula is an entirely new treatment option for patients with advanced wet macular degeneration.
Our research also focuses on diabetic retinopathy, a disease of the retina that is caused by diabetes mellitus. High blood sugar levels damage the tiniest blood vessels in the retina, which can cause blockages that in turn hinder the supply, while changes to the vessel walls cause tiny bleeds in the retina and increase the deposits of fatty substances. The affected person will not notice these changes, since there is no impairment of vision. These retinal changes can still be treated successfully at this stage. If, however, the disease progresses, it can lead to serious visual impairment or even blindness.
The experts at the Eye Center Cologne are involved in various international studies to analyse innovative new approaches to the treatment of diabetic retinopathy.