What is A Retinal Detachment?
A serious eye condition that can require medical attention is a retinal attachment. It occurs when the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye, separates from the surrounding tissue, which provides nourishment and oxygen. When a retinal detachment occurs, vision can be severely impaired or even lost if left untreated. Retinal tears often precede a detachment. When fluid within the eye goes through the tear, this can cause the retina to detach from the nearby tissue, leading to the retinal detachment. The highly experienced Jacksonville, FL retina specialists can treat and diagnose retinal detachments with a number of high-quality treatments.
Causes and Symptoms
A retinal attachment is often caused by the vitreous, which is the gel-like material inside the eye that gives it its shape, sagging. This fluid can pass through a retinal hole or tear, which can lead to the retina detaching from its nearby tissue. Patients with certain preexisting conditions like advanced diabetes can have an increased chance of a retinal detachment since blood vessels are often affected. Those who are severely nearsighted, have a family history of retinal detachments, and those with a previous eye injury or cataract surgery have a higher chance of experiencing a retinal detachment. Aging and other retina conditions can weaken the retina and cause a detachment.
Even though the retina detaches, the condition actually isn’t painful. The most common symptoms of a retinal detachment are:
- Blurred vision
- Seeing flashes of light in one or both eyes
- Seeing floaters, which appear as small flecks or threads in a patient’s field of vision
- Reduced periphery vision
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A retinal examination is commonly used to diagnose a retinal detachment. The specialist will use an ophthalmoscope, an instrument with a special lens and bright light. It will be used to examine the back of the eye to show any signs of a detachment, tear, or hole. Ultrasound imaging can also be used to get detailed images of the back of the eye. Even if symptoms are only occurring in one eye, the specialist will typically look at both eyes.
Treatment and Prognosis
Surgery is the best way to treat a retinal detachment. Pneumatic retinopexy involves the surgeon injecting a gas or air bubble into the central part of the eye. The bubble pushes against the retina to contain the hole(s) against the eye wall. This stops the fluid from flowing behind the retina. This treatment may also be combined with cryopexy (freezing therapy) where a frozen probe is applied to the eye’s surface over the tear to cause a scar to secure the retina back into place.
With scleral buckling, a piece of silicone, rubber, or plastic material is sewn to the sclera (white part of the eye). The material indents the eye wall to relieve some of the pressure caused by the vitreous pulling away from the retina.
A vitrectomy involves draining the vitreous fluid, along with any tissue that is pulling away from the retina. Gas, silicone, or air can then be injected into the vitreous space to flatten the retina. The gas, silicone, or air will eventually be absorbed and the area will refill with fluid.
Most patients can expect vision recovery after a procedure. However, it may take a few months for vision to improve. In some instances, a patient may need a second procedure in order to regain vision. It’s important to note that some patients never regain all of their lost vision. The sooner that a retinal detachment is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis.
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Treat Retinal Detachment
While a retinal detachment isn’t painful, it can cause a number of serious issues, such as vision loss. The sooner it’s discovered, the better prognosis. If you are experiencing any symptoms, contact our clinic today to get your retinal detachment diagnosed and treated.