Retinal Detachment

Retinal Detachment

The retina is an essential component of the visual system and it is located inside of the eye. In a nutshell, this is a tissue layer that is very sensitive to light, and its purpose is to send signals to the brain, via the optic nerve. Some people may experience a retinal detachment, and this means that the retina is no longer in place: if the issue is not identified and addressed quickly, it can lead to permanent loss of sight.

Signs And Symptoms Of Retinal Detachment

There are several specific signs that can indicate the fact that the retina is no longer in place. For instance, if you see “floaters” (specks
that occur all of a sudden in your vision field) coupled with light flashes in the eye, then this might indicate retinal detachment. At the same time, if you experience a blurry curtain over your vision field you might also suffer from retinal detachment, and it is recommended to seek professional help as quickly as possible. This is a serious medical condition that requires the attention of a trained and skilled ophthalmologist.

Causes Of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment can occur as a direct result of a wide array of causes, but there are three main factors that influence the onset of this condition. One of them is when the vitreous gel of the eye pulls away from the retina that surrounds it. When that happens, a small tear can appear and the fluid can get under the retina, therefore separating it. At the moment, this is considered to be the most common underlying cause of retinal detachment.

On the other hand, scar tissue can also influence the appearance of this ocular disorder: the scar tissue located on the surface of the retina starts to contract, thus forcing it to detach in the long run. Last, but lot least, retinal diseases can also be a cause, especially trauma to the eye or various inflammatory disorders. Just like it happens when the vitreous gel pulls away from the retina, in the case of retinal diseases fluid also leaks into the area, although there are no specific breaks or tears that cause the leakage.

This is a common disorder that can appear regardless of age, although people aged 40 or above are more prone to it. At the same time, shortsighted people and those who have had retinal detachment cases in their family are at high risk of developing this disorder, sooner or later. Patients who had severe trauma to the eye or who already have a retinal detachment in the other eye are also more prone to this ocular condition. 

Retinal Detachment Treatment

There are several different treatment options designed to treat retinal tear, and laser is widely used in this case. In addition to laser, freeze treatments performed at the ophthalmologist’s office are also commonly used: while the laser creates tiny burns to get the retina back in place, freezing therapies simply freeze the area that surrounds the retina, in order to help it re-attach itself. The results of the treatment will be visible after a couple of weeks, during which the patient will have to come to the doctor’s office for an evaluation.

Eye surgery is the most common treatment option in this case, and it usually involves the insertion of a small synthetic band attached to the eyeball, in order to push the eye wall against the retina and to force it to re-attach to the eye.

Vitrectomy, on the other hand, is another common treatment option for retinal detachment: in this case, the doctor performs a small incision in the white of the eye, then removes the vitreous gel inside the eye and inserts either gas or another substance designed to reattach the retina and to help the eye maintain its naturally round shape at the same time. As the days pass, the eye will naturally produce a liquid that replaces the gas and fills the eye. However, patients who are subjected to this gas treatment are advised against taking the plane until they are completely healed.

Retinal Detachment Surgery Risks and Benefits

Retinal detachment surgery is widely popular nowadays, and 9 cases out of 10 are considered to be successful. Although some patients may require a second intervention, the overall success rate of the treatment is very encouraging. However, it must be said that there is a risk of retinal re-detachment if scarring occurs during the healing process, given the fact that scarring is one of the causes that trigger retinal detachment in the first place. 

Despite its success, it must be said that the doctor cannot always predict the visual outcome of the surgery, and the patient usually has
to wait up to a couple of months for the final results to be visible. Different patients have different visual outcomes, and the treatment does carry a risk for vision loss, as it can fail sometimes. Patients must be fully aware of all the risks and benefits of retinal detachment treatment.

However, the experience of the doctor plays a pivotal role here as well, and patients are strongly advised to seek professional help if they experience a gradual or an abrupt increase in the number of light flashes. On the other hand, those who see a dark curtain over the vision field are also advised to see an ophthalmologist. The sooner you identify the retinal detachment, the better the visual results after repairing the damage. It is important to treat retinal detachment before macula detachment appears, as this increases the chances of success.

In conclusion, our eyes are our most important asset and once the vision is lost, it can rarely be fully recovered. Patients must understand that treating retinal detachment while it is in early stages can significantly improve one’s vision in the long term. Modern medicine has evolved greatly over the past few decades, and new treatment options have emerged: today, ophthalmologists can efficiently treat a wide array of ocular disorders by using state-of-the-art technology.