Retinal Detachment: What You Need To Know About a Detached Retina
Are you experiencing a sudden onset of a lot of floaters or flashes of light in your vision?
If so, you maybe be experiencing a retinal detachment, an eye emergency!
What is a retinal detachment?
Your retina is the light-sensitive tissue in the back of your eye. Like the wallpaper of a room, it’s attached to the inside of your eye and is designed to lay flat for proper functioning.
In some emergency cases, your retina can pull away from its normal position. Like a crack in wallpaper, this sometimes happens and is called a retinal tear, which can lead to a retinal detachment.
What are the biggest risk factors for retinal detachment?
A few of the main risk factors for having a retinal detachment include:
Being nearsighted (myopic)
A previous eye injury or eye surgery
A family history of retinal detachments
Thin areas in your retina that can lead to a tear (i.e. lattice degeneration)
What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?
Symptoms that may indicate that you have a torn or detached retina include:
A sudden increase in spots or spider webs in your vision, known as floaters
Flashing lights in your vision (like a camera flash or a lightning bolt)
A dark shadow or curtain in your vision
Sudden onset of blurred vision
How are retinal detachments diagnosed?
Retinal detachments are diagnosed through dilated eye exams, retinal imaging, and/or b-scan ultrasounds.
What are treatments for retinal detachment?
When diagnosed with a retinal detachment, our optometrists will immediately refer you to an ophthalmologist that specializes in the retina.
Retinal specialists are experts in the treatment of retinal diseases and will consider various laser and surgical options to repair the retina based on the severity of the detachment.
What is the visual prognosis after retinal detachment?
Overall, the earlier retinal detachment surgery is performed, the better the visual prognosis. However, vision after surgery depends on several factors including:
How long it has been since the retina has been detached the extent of the detachment
Where the retina is detached
How well the retinal has been reattached
The overall health of the eye
If the macula is not involved in the detachment (a "macula on" detachment), the chances of a good visual outcome are higher. Unfortunately, if the macula is involved (a "macula off" detachment) or there is significant damage to the retina, the visual outcome may be poorer.
Final thoughts on retinal detachments
A retinal detachment is an eye emergency that can cause permanent vision damage if not evaluated and fixed soon.
If you think you or someone you know has a retinal detachment, call one of our offices ASAP to schedule an appointment today!