RETINAL DETACHMENT

A retinal detachment is a serious eye condition in which the retina separates from the inner lining within the eye, often associated with holes or tears. It is a problem that occurs most frequently in the middle aged and elderly people and can lead to rapid and permanent blindness if not treated quickly.

CAUSES

There are many causes of retinal detachments, but the most common is a tear in the retina. Retinal detachment is more common among patients with myopia (near sightedness), diabetic patients, and those with a family history of retinal detachment.

SYMPTOMS

1. Light flashes

2. Wavy or watery vision

3. Obstructing vision, i.e., the appearance of a curtain over the field of vision

4. Floaters (little “cobwebs” or specks that float about in your field of vision), though many people have had them for many years and it’s not a cause for concern

5. Sudden decrease of vision.

PREVENTION

There is no known measure that prevents retinal detachment. Have routine checks by an Ophthalmologist.

TREATMENT

Surgery involves reattaching the retina to the inner layers of the eye. Laser is used to “spot-weld” the retina back on. Silicon oil or a gas bubble is usually placed inside the eye to help stabilize the retina while it is healing. When a gas bubble is used, the patient’s head must be positioned in such a way that the bubble is placed where it can support the healing retina. The gas usually takes about 20 days to reabsorb fully and air travel is not allowed during this period.

BENEFITS OF TREATMENT

The most obvious benefit is preventing you from going blind in the affected eye. One may have lost vision from the retinal detachment and even with successful surgery, vision may not return to normal.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Who is at risk of retinal detachment? It can occur at any age.

2. Can retinal detachment reoccur? Yes, it can.