Retinal Detachment

Retinal Detachment or RD is an eye disorder that happens when the retina — a sensitive tissue in the eye, is pulled away from its original position. In retinal detachment, the blood vessels that are responsible for providing nourishment and oxygen to the retina is separated. If left untreated, RD can even lead to permanent vision loss.

Types of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment has 3 types.

  • Rhematogenous is a type of RD in which the retina slowly moves away from its real position.
  • Tractional is another type of RD in which the scar tissues on the surface of retina pulls the layer underneath it
  • Exudative is the most severe type of RD. In Exudative RD, the fluid gathers under the retina. However, unlike other types, there is no tear or hole in the eye.

While each type is unique and different, each will disrupt the original position of retina.

Symptoms

In the early stages, you won’t notice any eminent signs. However, as the eye disorder grows, the following symptoms may start to show:

  • Spots or floaters in the vision
  • Blurred vision 
  • Dark shadow or curtains in the middle or corners of the eyesight
  • Flashes of light 

A person with RD might or might not experience these symptoms. If you do notice any of these signs, seek urgent consultation because the retina can move quickly from its position which can result in making the person completely blind.

People with higher risks of Retinal Detachment

People who have the following symptoms are at a higher risk to get RD:

  • Had a severe eye injury
  • Have a family history of RD
  • Underwent an eye surgery
  • Old aged people — this disease is more common in people over the age of 50 
  • Previously diagnosed with RD

Other complications that are associated with retinal detachment include:

  • Posterior vitreous detachment (a condition in which the gel-like fluid, which is in the centre of the eye, is pulled away from the retina)
  • Diabetic Retinopathy (an eye problem that affects people who manage their diabetes poorly)
  • Myopia (Extreme near-sightedness)
  • Other eyes problems such as retinoschisis or lattice degeneration

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Prevention of retinal detachment

You can reduce the risk of RD by wearing eye gear like safety goggles or safety helmet when playing sports or risky activities.

If you start noticing any early signs, seek emergency treatment and visit the eye doctor right away. Also, it is crucial to schedule comprehensive dilated eye exams with your doctor. The physician will be able to notice any minor retinal tear or detachment in the early stages before it starts to damage your vision.

Retinal Detachment Treatment

Your doctor is going to check for RD with a dilated eye exam. The test is not complicated and does not involve pain. The physician will have a look at your eyes after dilating the pupil.

In some cases, the doctor requires more information after a dilated eye exam. He may recommend you get an ultrasound done or an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan of your eye.  Both of the processes are pain-free and will aid your physician to identify the position of retina.

How the doctor treats the disease depends upon the seriousness and type of RD that a person might have. Mostly, eye specialists recommend eye surgery like laser or freezing treatment.

  • If the tear or hole on the layer of the retina is minor, the eye specialist will use a medical laser or a freezing probe to fix tears or breaks within your retina. 
  • Surgery: Freeze treatment or laser works with smaller tears, if a large area of the retina is detached, your eye doctor may recommend you to have a surgery to get the detached retina at its original position.

In most cases, retinal detachment can be treated successfully especially if the signs are noticed early. Some patients require a second treatment because the retina is disturbed again but the success rate is very high in these treatments

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