What is Retinal Detachment?
Interesting Eye Articles, Retinal Detachment
13 December 2022
This is a condition where your retina is pulled away, or detaches, from its position at the back of your eye, Listed as an emergency, you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately and seek treatment as it could cause permanent loss of vision in the affected eye.
As seen in the diagram above, a detached retina is illustrated for a better picture of what is happening to those with this condition. In such a state, the retina can’t carry out its task anymore, leading to your vision being affected, which we will touch on later in the article.
What are the three different types?
There isn’t a single type of retinal detachment as some may believe. On the contrary, there are three different types, each caused by different factors with their own risk factors.
Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment
This is the most common type of retinal detachment and is because of a tear or hole in the retina which allows fluid to collect under the retina and pass through it. The retina will be moved away from its underlying tissues by the fluid which will cause it to lose its blood supply and stop functioning.
Exudative retinal detachment
Even though your retina has no holes or tears, having fluid collect underneath it can also lead to a detachment. Exudative retinal detachment can be caused by ageing, injuries to your eye, inflammatory diseases, and tumours.
Tractional retinal detachment
Poor control of diabetes may lead to diabetic retinopathy, a condition where blood vessels in your eye will become damaged and scarred. As the scars increase, they can pressure your retina, causing it to break away from the back of your eye, Other health conditions can cause tractional retinal detachment too, such as eye infections, and swelling in the eye.
What are the signs and symptoms of retinal detachment?
Learning how to spot the signs of retinal detachment is important in catching it early and preventing permanent vision loss. If you or a loved one suspect that you have this condition, you should visit your nearest emergency unit immediately, and give your ophthalmologist a call,
● Blurred vision
● A sudden appearance of floaters
● An increase in the number of floaters if you currently have them
● Lights flashing in one or both eyes
● Your side vision slowly reducing
● Your vision darkening
These symptoms are painless so you may brush them off easily, but these warning signs always appear before the detachment happens or has worsened.
What are the treatments available for retinal detachment?
A bubble of air will be injected into the centre of the eye. It will be positioned in such a way that it will push up into the area where the retinal hole(s) are. This will stop the flowing of fluid into the back of the retina. The retina will return to its original position as the fluid can be absorbed naturally but you may need to hold your head in a specific position for a few days to keep the bubble in place.
The vitreous is removed, along with any tissue that’s pulling on the retina. Silicone oil, air, or gas will be injected into the space to flatten the retina. With time, air and gas will be absorbed by the body, and the space will fill will bodily fluid, but for silicon oil, another surgery will be needed to remove it.
A piece of silicon material will be sewn to the white of your eye over the affected area. This will reduce the pressure of the force caused by the pulling of the vitreous on the retina.
What are the risk factors for this condition?
Retinal detachment seems like a scary condition, especially when it comes to the high risk of permanent vision loss. As prevention is better than cure, why not take a look at the risk factors that can increase the chances of your developing the condition?
● Previous retinal detachment
● Extreme nearsightedness (severe myopia)
● Had a serious eye injury
● Underwent an eye surgery
● Had a former eye disorder or disease
● Have poorly controlled diabetes
● You have a family history of retinal detachment
We strongly recommend anyone with one or more of these risk factors to get an eye exam on a regular basis, to detect and learn how to spot the signs of retinal detachment.
How do I lower the risk of it?
A common cause of retinal detachment in ageing, so prevention may be impossible. However, there are still steps you can take to reduce the risk of it.
Learn to spot the signs early
As retinal detachment is painless, it is easy to dismiss it as something else. This will cause your condition to worsen rapidly if treatment is not sought immediately.
Go for regular eye exams
Your doctor will be able to spot the signs of holes or tears in your retina early before they worsen to something else. This will reduce the chances of you developing retinal detachment.
Wear eye protection
During sporting activities, it is recommended to wear eye protection such as goggles to prevent eye injury. A serious enough trauma can affect the retina and lead to other unwanted conditions.
Taking part in regular exercises
Exercising is important in keeping yourself healthy and reducing the risk of developing many different conditions such as diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy can cause retinal detachment, while poorly managed diabetes can also lead to cataracts.
Book an appointment now
If you suspect you or your loved ones are at risk for retinal detachment, do book an appointment with us now as early detection can save your sight, and prevent you from a worsening condition.