discoloration of the retina causes and treatment

Symptom Database

Discoloration of the retina, also known as retinal discoloration or retinal pigmentation, refers to an abnormal change in the color of the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. This condition can be a cause for concern as it may indicate an underlying eye disorder or disease. Understanding the causes and treatment options for retinal discoloration is crucial for maintaining good eye health. In this article, we will explore the various factors that can lead to retinal discoloration and discuss potential treatment approaches.

Causes of Retinal Discoloration

Retinal pigmentation or color change can occur due to several reasons. Some of the common causes include:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): AMD is a progressive eye disease that affects the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp vision. As the disease progresses, it can lead to retinal discoloration.
  • Retinal detachment: When the retina detaches from its normal position, it can cause changes in its color and appearance.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa: This inherited disorder causes the breakdown and loss of cells in the retina, leading to retinal pigmentation.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: People with diabetes may develop retinal discoloration due to damage to the blood vessels in the retina.
  • Retinal vein occlusion: A blockage in the veins that carry blood away from the retina can result in retinal pigmentation.

Treatment Options for Retinal Discoloration

The treatment of retinal discoloration depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Here are some common treatment approaches:

1. Medical Interventions

In cases where retinal discoloration is caused by an underlying eye disease or condition, medical interventions may be necessary. These can include:

  • Medication: Certain medications, such as anti-VEGF drugs, may be prescribed to manage retinal discoloration associated with conditions like AMD or diabetic retinopathy.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgical procedures may be required to address retinal detachment or other structural abnormalities causing the discoloration.

2. Lifestyle Modifications

Adopting certain lifestyle changes can help manage retinal discoloration and promote overall eye health. These include:

  • Quitting smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing AMD, which can contribute to retinal discoloration. Quitting smoking can help slow down the progression of the condition.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet: Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can support retinal health and potentially reduce the risk of retinal discoloration.
  • Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can improve blood circulation, which is essential for maintaining healthy retinal function.
  • Protecting the eyes: Wearing sunglasses with UV protection and avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight can help prevent damage to the retina.

3. Vision Rehabilitation

In cases where retinal discoloration cannot be fully reversed, vision rehabilitation techniques can be employed to help individuals adapt to their visual changes. These may include:

  • Low vision aids: Devices such as magnifiers, telescopes, and specialized glasses can assist individuals with retinal discoloration in maximizing their remaining vision.
  • Visual skills training: Working with a vision therapist can help individuals develop strategies to enhance their visual abilities and improve their quality of life.

It is important to note that the success of treatment for retinal discoloration depends on various factors, including the underlying cause, the stage of the condition, and individual response to treatment. Consulting with an ophthalmologist or retina specialist is crucial for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.


Retinal discoloration can be a concerning symptom that may indicate an underlying eye disorder or disease. Understanding the causes and treatment options for this condition is essential for maintaining good eye health. Medical interventions, lifestyle modifications, and vision rehabilitation techniques can all play a role in managing retinal discoloration. If you experience any changes in your vision or notice discoloration of the retina, it is important to seek prompt medical attention to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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