Signs of Retinal Detachment

Diagnosing a Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a condition which poses serious risks if left undiagnosed. Without medical treatment, retinal detachment can result in vision damage and even blindness. If you suspect that you may have a retinal tear or detachment, seek treatment from a trusted eye care professional right away.

What is retinal detachment?

The retina is a layer of tissue on the eye which is especially light-sensitive. It is the mechanism which sends the visual information from the eye to the brain to process. The retina can easily become detached from the rest of the eye, resulting in vision damage. Even when there are only slight tears, it can lead to the entire detachment of the retina and cause permanent damage to the eye.

What are the types of retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment can be categorized into three common types: rhegmatogenous, tractional, and exudative.

  • Rhegmatogenous means that there is a tear in the retina which allows fluid to flow underneath. This can separate it from the pigment layer which keeps the retina nourished. This is the most common type of detached retina.
  • A tractional detached retina includes scar tissue on the surface of the retina, which then causes the retina to separate from the retinal pigment epithelium.
  • The exudative type is caused by trauma, which may include inflammatory diseases or injury. Fluid also leaks under the retina, but it is unlikely for there to be any tearing.

Who is vulnerable to retinal detachment?

Retinal detachments usually occur in patients over the age of 40, and are more common in men. Nearsighted patients and those who have suffered a detached retina before are also more predisposed to experiencing a subsequent detachment. Family history, a history of cataract surgery, and eye diseases can also affect your likelihood of developing a detached retina.

What are the symptoms?

When retinal detachment occurs, you will most likely experience “cobweb” floaters over your field of vision. You may also notice light flashing. When the symptoms worsen, you may notice a “curtain” covering the eye.

A detached retina will most likely be treated by laser surgery or by cryopexy. A more serious situation may even require surgery or a vitrectomy—a small incision which drains the fluids from underneath your eye. Consult your trusted eye care professional to determine which treatment would be best for you.

Schedule an Eye Exam with Dr. Ghosheh

If you suspect that you may have a detached retina, schedule an eye exam with renowned eye specialist Dr. Ghosheh today. For this and all other eye health concerns, contact his caring and experienced staff at Advanced Eye Medical Group.

Retinal Tears

Retinal Tears: An Eye Emergency

Retinal tears, holes and detachments are emergency situations. In these instances, the retina, the thin tissue in the back of your eye, becomes torn or detached from its normal position. When a patient experiences retinal tears or detachment, they may experience a sudden appearance of floaters and flashes and/or reduced vision.

If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately as untreated retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.

What is Retinal Detachment?

When your retina becomes detached from the back of the eye, it also separates from important blood vessels providing oxygen and nourishment to the eye. If your retina continues to be detached, you have a greater chance of permanent vision loss in that eye. Retinal detachment should not go untreated.

Signs and Symptoms

Although retinal detachment is painless, there are several signs and symptoms of the detachment that accompany the condition before it has progressed. These symptoms include the appearance of tiny specks in the field of vision (floaters), flashes of lights, blurry and unclear vision, reduced peripheral vision and a shadow over the field of view.

Causes of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment can occur for many reasons. The most common reasons are sagging of the gel-like material that fills out the inside of the eyes known as the vitreous, injury or diabetes in an advanced state.

There are several risk factors for retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is often the result of aging, as it commonly is seen in patients over the age of 50. It also carries in family history and can be inherited. If you have previously detached a retina, it is more likely to happen again. Nearsighted individuals are more likely to detach a retina, as well as those who have had cataract removal or other eye surgeries, eye injuries or eye disease and/or inflammation.

Management and Treatment

To repair a retinal tear, hole or detachment, surgery is almost always utilized. There are several methods that are available to eye patients. Consult your eye doctor about what treatment is right for you.

If a retinal tear has not yet detached from the retina, your doctor may recommend either laser surgery or freezing to correct the problem.

Laser surgery (photocoagulation) involves the operating surgeon directing a laser into the pupil of the eye. The laser burns the retina to the tissue by causing the areas outside the retinal tear to become hot and scar around the edges.

When freezing (cryopexy) is the chosen option, the surgeon will administer a local anesthetic to numb the eye. The surgeon, then directly over the tear, will apply a freezing probe to the outer surface of the eye. Again in this instance, the scar that forms on the outside of the tear “burns” the retinal tear back together and fuses the retina back to normal.

These are both outpatient procedures. Be careful to be easy on your eyes in the week or so after the procedure to avoid any damage to the recovery.

If your retina has already become detached from the thin layer at the back of the eye, surgery will be necessary to repair the damage. This surgery is known as pneumatic retinopexy and should be performed as soon as possible after you are diagnosed (within a few days). Your surgeon may recommend several types of surgery, including injecting the eye with gas or air, indenting the eye’s surface area, or draining and replacing the eye’s fluid.

Consult with Your Doctor

If you experience the signs and symptoms of retinal tears, holes or detachments, seek medical attention immediately. You may have a greater risk of retinal detachment if you are older than 50, have a family history of retinal detachment or are nearsighted.

Retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss, so it is important to consult your doctor about your concerns. If you have more questions about retinal tears, holes or detachments, schedule a visit with Dr. Ghosheh of Laser for Eyes. You can also take a look at Dr. Ghosheh’s medical blog for further information about these conditions or other eye disorders.