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Retinoschisis

The retina of the eye is a slender layer made of tissues and is located near the optic nerve. The main function of the retina is to receive light from external sources and convert it into neural signals and send it to the brain so that we can visually recognize the world around us.


It plays a vital role in helping us visualizing our environment and things happening around us. Any damage to the retina can cause fatal blindness and hence it is recommended that the eye sight be kept healthy just like we take care of other organs of our body. Any damage to the retina can cause you blindness for your entire lifetime. One such ailment of the retina is Retinoschisis.

It is a condition in which the tissue lining that usually transmits visual signals to the optic nerve of the brain gets separated in two layers. This condition occurs in different layers of retina and can appear for different reasons as well. Tiny mass or lumps called the cysts start to form between the two layers of the retina when there is a substantial damage caused to the retina. The cysts prevent light from travelling to the optic nerve of the brain and make the vision of a patient blurry and even cause loss of vision.

Causes of Retinoschisis

Retinoschisis causes are of four types:

  • Juvenile X-linked Retinoschisis caused by genetic disorders mainly affects boys in young age or men. We all know that men have one X chromosome while women have two. When the X chromosome in men carries a mutation or a genetic disorder, it is likely to affect men more then women. Women may have the defect but the extra pair of X chromosome enables them to retain their vision. This condition appears one in five thousand to twenty five thousand persons. Such individuals, who are likely to be affected by retinoschisis, are generally affected in their infancy. These persons should have periodic eye examination.
  • Degenerative retinoschisis is mainly caused by age factor. The layers of the retina begin to erode and split in later years of life in both men and women. Not driven by genetic conditions, it is mainly observed in senior citizens aged above 60 years old.
  • Tractional retinoschisis is a condition present at the macula of the eye that is caused by traction in the retina. This is caused by proliferative diabetic retinopathy, impending macular hole and vitreomacular traction syndrome.
  • Exudative retinoschisis is caused by retinal detachment wherein the central part of retina is mistakenly considered to be serious retinal detachment. A procedure called vitrectomy and gas injection prove to be effective in treating this type of condition.

Symptoms of Retinoschisis

When a patient appears to have a decreased central vision or a decreased peripheral vision then he/she should visit the nearest doctor for a complete eye examination. Retinoschisis patients are vulnerable to retinal detachments and a visit to the ophthalmologist can help early detection. This will further help in a risk free surgery that can correct the retinal positioning. But once the retina is split or schisis has occurred then there is no medical surgery to help the patient recover.

Treatment of Retinoschisis

A procedure called electroretinogram or ERG helps identify role of the nerve tissue. During the test, the eye is provided with external stimuli and then contact lenses are worn by the patient top help the doctor to measure the electrical impulses. These impulses are then evaluated and examined thoroughly. The photoreceptor activity and the functioning of the inner and outer layer of retina helps the doctor understand the conditions.

  • ERGs can be performed on children as well as adults. However in children who are between the age of two and five years, the doctor will find it difficult to perform an ERG since it requires a general dose of anaesthesia. Administering anaesthesia to young children can prove to be fatal hence the doctors will recommend that the test be done after the age of five years. Young children should have regular eye examination; start at the age of 3 years is what any ophthalmologist would recommend.
  • If you are a patient who has retinoschisis then wearing glasses may improve the quality of the vision. However wearing glasses alone will not repair the nerve tissue damage.
  • On the contrary, conventional methods such as providing the patient with large font textbooks, large print computer screens and various other vision tools can help young children in their school.
  • The bleeding in the eye caused by retinoschisis may be treated with cryotheraphy that enables the damaged blood vessels closure in the retina.

In present times, researchers across the world are trying best to find out new ways of treating retinoschisis. Stem cells therapy could be the answer for a successful treatment however there is very little even the doctors know about treatment of retinoschisis through stem cells. The stem cells study is in a very nascent stage.

Retinoschisis Pictures

Picture of Retinoschisis
Picture 1 – Retinoschisis
Image Source – recognizingpathology.optos.com
Retinoschisis Image

Picture 2 – Retinoschisis
Image Source – montanaretinaconsultants.com

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