Retinal detachment is an emergency condition in which a thin layer of retina at back of the eyes pulls away from its normal position.
A retinal detachment separates retinal cells from the layer of blood vessels that provide oxygen supply and nourishment to the eyes. A delay in treatment causes permanent vision loss.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Retinal detachment is a painless condition; however, the signs and symptoms appear much before it reaches its advanced stage.
- Sudden appearance of floaters that look like strings, tiny specks, seem to drift through vision.
- Flash of light in one or both eyes.
- Blurred and slowdown of side vision.
- Curved or shadow vision.
What Causes Retinal Detachment?
Retinal detachment is broadly divided into three types: Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, Tractional and Exudative.
This is the most common type of detachment that happens due to a hole or tear in the retina allowing the fluid to pass and accumulate under the retina, pulling it away from underlying tissues. Areas where the retina gets detached lose blood supply and stop working, eventually causing loss of vision.
Age is the most common factor behind this condition. As one ages, the gel like material in the eye known as the vitreous changes its consistency and might become more fluid, making it separate and peel off the retina, causing a tear. If left untreated, it causes further damage to the vision.
A tractional retinal detachment happens when a scar tissue grows on the retina’s surface, forcing the retina to pull away from back of the eyes. It is a most common condition found with diabetics.
Macular degeneration, injury, tumors or inflammation in the eye cause exudative retinal detachment in which fluid accumulates under the retina, causing vision problems.
Diagnosis And Treatment:
Ophthalmologists use retinal examination and ultrasound techniques to diagnose retinal detachment. If the doctors confirm retinal detachment, surgery is the only option to fix the vision issues.
However, with modern technology, surgeries have become much simpler with laser techniques, or cryopexy in which the surgeon applies a freezing probe on the outer surface of the eye over the tear and it helps secure retina to the eye wall.
Other procedures may include injecting gas or air into the eye, draining or replacing fluid in the eye to ensure retina gets attached back in its place and to ensure a good vision.