The retina is the part of the eye that converts light into nerve signals that are processed by the brain into visual images.The retina is the inside surface of the back of the eye, consisting of millions of densely arranged, light-sensitive cells called rods and cones.Blood flow to the retina is maintained by the retinal vein and artery, and a dense network of small blood vessels (capillaries) supplies the area with circulation.
Because the cells of the retina are so dense and sensitive, even small injuries to the blood vessels can translate into vision problems.
Diseases that affect the health of the circulatory system, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, also affect the blood vessels of the eye.
Damage to the blood vessels in the retina, including hemorrhage, is termed retinopathy.
Retinal hemorrhages can be caused by injuries, usually forceful blows to the head during accidents and falls, as well as by adverse health conditions.
In infants, retinal hemorrhage is frequently associated with child abuse and has been termed shaken baby syndrome.
A condition called retinopathy of prematurity occurs in prematurely born infants or infants with low birth weights.
When children are born prematurely, the blood vessels in the eye may not have had time to fully develop and may become damaged easily, leaking or hemorrhaging.
The condition must be determined by an opthalmologist, as the symptoms are not readily observable.
Diabetic retinopathy is a common eye problem associated with diabetes.
Diabetes, by stressing the circulatory system, can cause damage, including hemorrhaging, to the small blood vessels of the retina.
Non-proliferative retinopathy occurs when the damaged or leaking blood vessels do not spread.