A sensitive layer at the back of the eye — the retina is a nerve that sends signals to the brain and converts light waves into visuals. Retinal Detachment is a serious eye disorder in which the retina is detached from the support layer beneath. If the retina is not in its proper position, it will not function properly and disturb the eyesight.
In a nutshell
- Retinal detachment is a serious eye disorder.
- Symptoms include floaters in vision and weak eyesight.
- It can be caused due to an eye injury or as a complication of another eye disorder.
- There are three types of retinal detachments.
- OCT and eye ultrasound are used to diagnose RD.
- Eye specialist use many methods to treat RD including laser therapy, vitrectomy and surgery.
What are the symptoms of retinal detachments?
The symptoms of RD depends upon the severity of the disorder.
- Floaters in the vision due to tears and holes.
- Sudden flashes on the sides of vision especially when the eyes move.
- Shadows in the sides of the vision.
- Diminished side (periphery) eyesight.
- Grey curtain in the vision.
- Weak vision or visual impairment.
Who is at a higher risk of retinal detachment?
People under the following circumstances are at an increased risk of RD:
- If any of your family members were affected by retinal detachment.
- If you had a cataract surgery.
- People who have myopia, extreme near-sightedness.
- You had an eye injury.
- If you had posterior vitreous detachment, an eye disorder in which the vitreous is detached from the retina.
- If you have glaucoma or glaucoma medication (which can make the pupil small).
- If you have Diabetic Retinopathy, RD can occur as its complication. Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye disease that mostly occurs in diabetic patients.
- Posterior vitreous detachment — an eye disorder similar to RD in which the vitreous is pulled away from the retina.
Does retinal detachment require urgent attention?
Retinal detachment should be considered an emergency because the symptoms of RD get worse quickly and in severe cases, it even leads to blindness. So, if you notice any symptoms of RD, get the help of an eye specialist quickly or visit an emergency.
Causes of Retinal Detachment
A retinal detachment may occur due to the following reasons:
- Poorly managed diabetes or blood pressure
- Extreme near-sightedness (myopia)
- A blow to the head or injury
- An eye injury
Retinal Detachment is of three types. Each one can occur due to a different reason:
- Rhegmatogenous: In this type of RD, fluid gathers underneath the retina due to a small hole or tear in the tissue. It is most common among old aged people.
- Tractional: Traction RD happens when the scar tissue develops on the surface of the retina, disturbing retina’s position. It is common amongst people who control their diabetes poorly.
- Exudative: Exudative RD is similar to Rhegmatogenous RD. The fluid gathers beneath a layer in the retina, however, there are no tears or holes. It is common among people who have inflammatory diseases or suffered an injury to the eye.
Retinal Detachment Diagnosis
- The diagnosis of retinal detachment is comprehensive. The doctors usually examine the eye after dilating it.
- An optical coherence tomography (OCT) test will be carried out to take images behind your eye and retina. OCT uses light waves to capture HD pictures.
- He may also recommend an ultrasound if there is any bleeding, which makes it difficult to look at the back of the eye.
Retinal detachment Treatment
Laser surgery, or photocoagulation: If there are tiny holes or tears in the blood vessels, your doctor will burn the area around the tear using a laser that will help the tissue blend together.
Cryotherapy: Another method to destroy the damaged tissues is cryotherapy — a process that uses multiple gases to create extreme cold temperature. Destroying the deceased tissue, helps the retina reattach to the layer beneath it.
Vitrectomy: Removing the vitreous gel — a gas or silicon bubble is inserted into the eye and the tears are stitched to get the retina back in its original position. However, the doctors remove the bubble after a few months.