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Retinal Detachment

    Who is at Risk?
    Symptoms
    Diagnosis
    Treatment
    After the Surgery
    Vision Status

The retina is the innermost layer of the eye responsible for vision. Retinal detachment is the separation of the retina from the other layers of the eye.

Retinal detachment can cause deep damage to vision. Unless timely treatment is given, there might be permanent vision loss. Retinal detachment is therefore viewed as an ocular emergency.

Retinal detachment can be caused due to different reasons.

The sensory layer of the retina breaks and fluid seeps underneath, causing the layers of retina to separate. People with severe myopia (near sightedness) can experience this.

Retinal detachment can also occur due to unchecked diabetes. Strands of the vitreous or scar tissue exert pressure on the retina, forcing it to separate.

Fluid collecting underneath the layers of retina can pull it loose from the back wall of the eye. Eye diseases, injuries or other eye problems can cause this to happen.

Who is at Risk?

  • Those with a family history of Retinal Detachment.
  • Preterm Babies.
  • People with holes or tears in the retina.
  • The Severely Myopic.
  • Those with tumour, injury etc in the eye.
  • Those who undergo LASIK or cataract surgery. But this complication is rare.

Symptoms

  • Sudden vision loss (like a shadow coming on) or blurring of vision
  • Appearance of floaters, black spots
  • Flashes of light
  • There is no pain associated with Retinal Detachment

Consult an ophthalmologist without delay if any of these symptoms are noticed.

Diagnosis

The eye is examined through an ophthalmoscope.

Dilatation of the eye and examination through a slit lamp microscope may be performed.

An ultrasound scan may also be necessary.

Treatment for Retinal Detachment

An eye surgeon must reattach a detached retina. There are several ways of doing this.

  • Cryotherapy: This involves freezing of lesions.
  • Laser Photocoagulation: This is a method of sealing off leaking blood vessels and destroying new blood vessel growth with a laser beam, and reattaching the retina.
  • Scleral Buckle: A flexible band is placed around the equator of the eye to balance out forces that pull the retina out of place. The ophthalmologist may drain the fluid from under the detached retina allowing the retina to return to its normal position against the back wall of the eye. This is usually an out patient procedure.
  • Pneumo – retinopexy: A gas bubble is injected into the vitreous space inside the eye. This pushes the retinal tear back against the wall of the eye and closes the tear.

Though retinal detachment treatments are by and large safe, surgical procedures (Scleral buckle and retinopexy) do carry risks of infection, bleeding and severe vision loss.

After the Surgery

  • You may expect mild discomfort.
  • You may be asked wear a patch for some time.
  • You may be on medication.
  • Your glasses may have to be changed.

Vision Status

If you have had chronic retinal detachment, the chances of regaining vision are poor. The earlier the problem is detected and treated as an emergency, the better the chances. However, if retinal detachment is ignored, deterioration and further loss of vision is possible.

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