Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration, or AMD, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the U.S. for people over the age of 65. AMD is a devastating eye disease occurs when the macula, located in the center of the retina, deteriorates or becomes damaged. The macula allows us to read and see fine details. When it fails to work properly, vision becomes blurry. Reading the newspaper or threading a needle may become difficult or impossible. Macular degeneration is brought on by aging, smoking and sometimes heredity.

Flashes and Floaters


Many people experience small specks, lines or cloudy spots that occasional pass through their field of vision. These are called floaters and are usually seen when staring at a blank wall or background. Floaters occur when the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills your eye, begins to separate from the back of the eye forming clumps or strands. Although they appear to float in front of your eye, they are actually just shadows being cast on your retina.


You may experience flashes or streaks of light, or the feeling of seeing “stars.” Flashes occur when the vitreous pulls or rubs against the retina. Flashes of light can appear for several weeks or months, and are more common with age.

Although flashes and floaters are common and can happen to anyone, you should contact a retinal specialist immediately if you suddenly notice an increase in floaters accompanied by sudden flashes, especially if you notice any changes to your vision. This could be a sign of retinal detachment or other serious eye conditions.

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a very serious and vision threatening condition that occurs when the retina detaches from the supportive tissue in the back of the eye. Common symptoms of a retinal detachment may include seeing spots, floaters, flashes of light or a sudden decrease in vision. If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of a retinal detachment, it’s extremely important to call an ophthalmologist immediately to receive treatment and prevent permanent vision loss. Retinal detachments typically occur in people over the age of 40, but it can also affect anyone who has suffered from an eye injury, eye disease, extreme nearsightedness (myopia), or as a result of complications after eye surgery.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Resulting as a complication of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is damage to blood vessels in the back of the eye. Despite being one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S., diabetic retinopathy often shows no symptoms in the early stages of the condition. It’s important for diabetic patients to have regular annual eye exams in order to detect, prevent and treat diabetic retinopathy as early as possible. Diabetics should take extra care to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, pay attention to any changes in vision, and habitually see an ophthalmologist every year. Our Salt Lake City eye doctors here at The Eye Institute of Utah regularly perform diabetic eye exams and help work with patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy to preserve sight and monitor their disease.

If you have been diagnosed with a retinal condition and would like to schedule an exam with our retinal specialist, Dr. Rebekah Gensure, please contact our office at 801-850-0796. Dr. Gensure does require a referral from a doctor for all of her new patients. If you do not have a doctor referral, but believe you are experiencing signs of a retinal condition, we would be happy to schedule an exam with one of our doctors that can then internally refer you to Dr. Gensure if needed.

Quote tag

Dr. Gensure is very friendly and a nice person. She answered all my questions. I am very satisfied with service at The Eye Institute and will recommend this place to everyone.


Page Updated:

The Eye Institute of Utah Doctors have either authored or reviewed and approved this content.