Eye Injections in Knoxville 

It’s very common for patients with retina diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy to require eye injections such as anti-VEGF medications to protect their eyesight. Dr. Matthew Cole performs these injections, helping his patients overcome their anxieties. Whether you are new to our area, want a second opinion or want to find a new doctor for treatments, Dr. Cole’s expertise and compassion will help set your mind at ease.  

What is the Retina?

The retina is a thin layer of tissue at the back of your eye that controls how you see images. Light enters into your eye with the goal of landing on this light-sensitive tissue so electrical impulses can be transmitted to your brain and processed as an image. It’s a very important part of your eye! If this area becomes damaged, you will have vision problems.

Symptoms of Retina Problems

There are many different types of retina problems, so the symptoms can vary greatly. In general, you might have a retina condition if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Flashes
  • Floaters
  • Dark spots
  • Straight lines appear wavy
  • Dullness in colors
  • Vision loss
  • Reduced peripheral vision
  • Dark shadow
  • Specks

An eye exam is the only way to know for sure if you have a retina condition. Please contact us to book an appointment if you are experiencing any visual disturbance.

Symptoms: central vision loss, straight lines appear wavy, dark areas

The macula is the central part of your retina. A healthy macula is necessary to see objects and faces or perform tasks such as reading and driving. There are two types of AMD: Dry and Wet.

  • Dry AMD occurs when cells in the macula break down due to the build-up of yellow drusen deposits. This is the most common form of AMD.
  • Wet AMD can cause rapid vision loss because abnormal, fragile blood vessels that have grown under the macula leak blood or fluid.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms: dark spots, floaters, strings, blurry vision, changes in color perception, vision loss

Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can cause the blood vessels in your retina to become fragile, swell and leak blood or fluid into the retinal tissue. If these blood vessels eventually close, abnormal blood vessels will begin to grow to compensate for the lack of blood flow. This is called diabetic retinopathy and it can seriously – and permanently – damage your vision. Keeping your blood sugar under control by living a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Other Retina Conditions

Central Serous Retinopathy

Symptoms: blurry vision in one eye, dark spots in central vision, straight lines appear wavy, sudden or gradual vision loss, dullness in colors

Fluid build-up behind the eyes can cause the retina to detach. Central serous retinopathy is when the retina detaches in the central area of the retina. Risk factors include being male (age 30-50), aging, stress, medications that cause inflammation and Caucasian race. Women can also develop central serous retinopathy.

Choroidal Nevus

Symptoms: floaters, flashes, reduced peripheral vision, shadow over vision, blurry vision

A choroidal nevus is a freckle inside your eye that develops over time as melanocyte cells form clumps. These cannot be removed but should be monitored by your eye doctor to ensure that it remains benign and does not become malignant. Your doctor will watch to see if the area changes color or thickens.

Detached and Torn Retina

Symptoms: cobweb specks, flashes, wavy vision, dark shadow, vision loss

A tear in the retina can turn into a detached retina if this tissue becomes separated from the pigmented cell layer that nourishes it. There are many different reasons why this can occur. Fluid can collect under the retina and cause the area to detach. The vitreous gel inside the eye or even scar tissue can contract and pull on the retina tissue. Any of these situations is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. Risk factors include having a history (or family history) of retinal detachment, eye injury, cataract surgery, severe nearsightedness and eye disease.

Flashes & Floaters

Symptoms: dots, lines, cobwebs, flashes of light, peripheral vision changes, dark shadow

Your eyes are filled with a vitreous gel that can start to clump, thicken or shrink over time. Floaters are annoying, but not typically serious because they are simply strands of this gel moving around your field of vision. Flashes, however, are more serious because they can cause a retinal tear. Risk factors include being nearsighted, eye inflammation or trauma, aging, migraine headaches or previous cataract surgery

Geographic Atrophy

Symptoms: difficulty reading in dim light, central vision loss, black spot in central vision, glare

Geographic atrophy is an advanced form of dry macular degeneration (AMD) that destroys healthy photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) due to the build-up of protein deposits on the macula. These cells are necessary for central vision because they transmit images to the brain. Risk factors include aging, history of smoking, high blood pressure, light colored iris and genetics. There is no treatment for this condition.

Inherited Retinal Conditions

Symptoms: vision loss in infancy, night blindness, wiggly eye movements in babies, loss of color vision

Your eyes need the right amount of proteins to function properly. If you have a faulty gene that does not create these proteins, this is known as an inherited retinal disease (IRD). Many different types of IRDs can affect people of all ages (even infants) and cause vision loss at varying rates – even blindness. If you or your child is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please schedule an eye appointment right away. You may require genetic testing or gene therapy to address the problems.

Macular Edema

Symptoms: wavy central vision, blurriness, faded colors, vision loss

Macular edema occurs when fluid builds up behind the central part of your retina (the macula) due to damaged blood vessels. This causes the area to become thick and enlarged. Risk factors include diabetes, wet AMD, inflammatory disease (uveitis), eye surgery and retinal vein occlusion.

Macular Holes & Puckers

Symptoms: central vision loss or distortion, straight lines look wavy, grey/black spot in central vision

Your macula (central part of the retina) contains nerve cell fibers. If there is a break in these fibers, you will develop a macular hole. A macular pucker will occur if scar tissue grows over this area. Risk factors include diabetic eye disease, detached retina, eye injury and extreme myopia (nearsightedness).

Ocular Tumors

Symptoms: vision distortion, floaters, flashes, iris discoloration, pupil shape distortion, brown spot on outside of eye, loss of vision

Ocular tumors can be benign or malignant, caused by the growth and multiplication of abnormal cells. Many different types of ocular tumors can affect pigment-producing cells, blood vessels in the retina, middle layer of the eye and many other areas. Risk factors range greatly but may include genetics, aging, light-colored eye/skin, UV exposure, moles and skin disorders.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

Symptoms: flashes of light in peripheral vision, floaters, dark spots, shadows

Your eye is filled with vitreous gel that is attached to your retina. As you age, this gel can shrink, causing it to detach from the retina. There are not always symptoms of this condition, so regular eye exams are crucial for protecting your vision. This condition could lead to a retinal detachment or macular hole. Risk factors include aging and nearsightedness.

Retinal Artery Occlusion

Symptoms: no symptoms, sudden loss of vision in one eye

A blockage in any artery in your retina can have no symptoms or result in severe vision loss if it occurs in your main artery. Regular eye exams are crucial for protecting your vision. Risk factors include aging, fatty deposits in the arteries, diabetes, intravenous drug use, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, heart disease, high blood pressure or blood clots. Blockages may be able to become dislodged if they are found within 4-6 hours after the symptoms start.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Symptoms: dark spots, blurriness, sudden blindness, eye pain, peripheral vision loss

A blockage in any of the tiny veins in your retina can have no symptoms or result in severe vision loss if it occurs in your main central vein. If blood flow to and from the retina becomes blocked, this will place pressure on the blood vessels. Regular eye exams are crucial for protecting your vision. Risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, overweight, glaucoma and eye trauma.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Symptoms: loss of peripheral vision, tunnel vision, limited vision in dark environments, poor night vision, blindness

The photoreceptors (rods and cones) in your retina convert light coming into your eyes into electrical signals that travel from the optic nerve to the brain so you can process the images. Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of genetic disorders that prevent these cells from making the proteins they need, causing them to mutate or deteriorate. Damage to the rods can lead to night blindness and loss of vision. Damage to cones makes it difficult to see color and recognize people or objects. There is no cure for this inherited condition but there are low vision aids that can help patients function each day.


Symptoms: inflammation, swelling, pain, redness, blurriness, floaters, light sensitivity

Uveitis is an eye inflammation that occurs in the middle layer of tissue called the uvea. Often caused by infection or injury, the symptoms can start suddenly and become severe. Risk factors include autoimmune or inflammatory disorders, smoking and being aged 20-50. It’s important to have this condition treated so you do not develop other complications such as retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma or permanent vision loss.

Retina Treatments in Knoxville

The right treatment will depend on which type of retinal condition you have. Dr. Cole may recommend one or more of the following treatments:


Steroids or anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) injections to reduce the risk of abnormal blood vessel growth

Anti-inflammatory treatments

Corticosteroid treatments in the form of eye drops, oral medication or injections may help reduce inflammation

Vitamin supplements

Laser treatment

Laser burns are performed to stop leaks of fluid and blood or to shrink abnormal blood vessels

Low Vision Aids

If you are faced with a retina condition for which there is no cure or treatment, there are tools you can use to live your life each day. Our team can recommend low vision aids such as handheld magnifiers, magnifying glasses, stand magnifiers, telescopes, video magnifiers, large print materials, talking computers and other technical items with sound capabilities.

Why Choose Us?

Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun have been serving the East Tennessee community with retina treatments since 1952. Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of patients preserve their eyesight by using advanced treatment protocols. 

We understand that receiving a retina disease diagnosis is very daunting. Our entire team spends time with each patient to explain what’s happening inside your eyes, what treatments are available and what to expect with each one. It’s common to feel anxious, so we will do everything we can to set your mind at ease and help you feel comfortable with our recommendations. You’ll receive premium treatment every step of the way. If you need retina care, we’re simply the best choice in East Tennessee. 

Our Retina Specialist

Our fellowship-trained retina specialist in Knoxville lives, works and plays right here in East Tennessee. He is fully ingrained in the East Tennessee community and is committed to bringing modern, premium eye care to our area. Retina care is an ongoing process, so you’ll form a strong bond with your doctor. We cherish these relationships!

  • Matthew M. Cole, M.D.

“I have had to go to this office since 2018. I couldn’t be better taken care of. Dr Cole and the staff are the Best. Dr Campbell had also taken care of me and my Eyes. Great people!”