Retinal detachment is one of the most serious diseases that could happen to your eyes!
As you know the retina is the tissue at the back of your eye globe that is responsible for receiving the light coming from the object you are seeing, processing the image and it is colors then sends it to the vision area in the brain for understanding it.
This thin layer, if it gets teared away from its surroundings, it can longer process the image properly resulting in vision loss temporarily if detected and treated early enough, permanently if not. If anyone in your family has suffered from retinal detachment in his life, then you are at risk, and If you are nearsighted, diabetic, had an injury to your eye before or underwent cataract surgery then you are too at risk.
Symptoms of retinal detachment:
Unfortunately, when the retina gets detached it doesn’t induce any pain! Making it very hard to detect once it happens, but fortunately, there are symptoms that can help to detect it. Seeing any of the following is considered a warning for retinal detachment and require that you immediately visit your ophthalmologist.
- Light flashes.
- Loss of side vision ( the image you see starts losing its edges).
** To learn more about these symptoms… read this article***
Before full detachment, sometimes only a retinal tear it happens. It has the same symptoms as the detachment but if detected early enough, your doctor can save your eye and vision.
What happens in a retinal tear?
When the retina gets torn for example due to direct eye injury, the fluid behind the lens could leak behind the layers of the retina, separating it from its underlying supporting tissue.
At this point, visiting your ophthalmologist can help save your vision with a very simple procedure. If left untreated and progressed into full detachment then a more serious surgery is needed, and if not done this means permanent vision loss.
Diagnosis of retinal detachment
Diagnosis of the detachment could happen as part of regular checkups at your doctor’s office. or after you suffer any of the aforementioned symptoms. As usual with most eye examination procedures, dilating eye drops that dilate your pupil will be administered, and with the use of special devices your ophthalmologist will see if your retina is partially or fully detached.
The more frequent you visit your doctor, and the sooner you visit after feeling any of the symptoms is the key to early diagnosis of retinal detachment which means avoiding vision loss!
Treatment of retinal detachment
After full general and ophthalmological examination, and diagnosis with retinal detachment. Your doctor will explore all options with you starting with:
- Laser sessions: using laser an early retinal tear could be treated, it is a simple procedure usually done in-office.
- Cryopexy: also a simple procedure but instead of using laser heat, the doctor will use the freezing technique.
- Pneumatic retinopexy: also used for small simple tears where the doctor induces a tiny gas bubble into the back part of the eye pressing the vitreous fluid ( a gel-like substance that fills this back part) against the retina to simply close the tear. Then the tear could be sealed using the laser or the freezing technique.
- Scleral buckle: this is a more serious surgical intervention where a special silicone band is used to surround your sclera (white part of your eye globe) and slowly tightening it, pushing it towards the tear to close it till it heals. Also, laser or Cryopexy is used afterward to seal the tear.
- Vitrectomy: this is also a surgical procedure that repairs larger tears, your ophthalmologists will remove the vitreous body ( the gel-like substance that fills the back of your eye globe), fills this part instead with saline solution an amount large enough to press the detached retina back into place.
Magrabi’s advice to you
As mentioned before, regular eye checkups are mandatory to early diagnose most eye diseases including retinal detachment.
- If you are at risk have more frequent visits.
- please wear your protective goggles at all times, If you handle serious chemicals or play vigorous sports.
- If you are nearsighted, diabetic, suffer from hypertension keep them under control to prevent retinal tears.
- If you suffer any of these symptoms (flashes of light – floaters- loss of peripheral vision) you must visit your doctor immediately.
The earlier you detect it, the easier it is to save you from vision loss, for more information about retinal detachment in the related videos …