Retinal Detachments

Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition that occurs when the retina becomes separated from the wall of the eye and its supportive underlying tissue. The retina is unable to function when these two layers are detached, and without prompt treatment, can lead to permanent vision loss.

Causes of a Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment can be complication of cataract surgery. A severe inflammation may alter the position of the retinal tissue and begin the detachment process. Other causes of a retinal detachment may be as follows:

    Retinal-Detachments1

  • Nearsightedness
  • A retinal tear
  • Family history of retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataract surgery
  • Trauma
  • Existing eye condition

Symptoms of a Retinal Detachment

Symptoms of retinal detachment may progress slowly or rapidly, but both should be reported to a medical doctor as soon as possible so as to minimize the risk of vision loss. Some of the symptoms of a retinal detachment include:

  • A sudden decrease in visual acuity
  • A sudden increase in the amount of “floaters” in vision
  • Bright flashes in the periphery
  • An unnatural “curving” of straight lines
  • Loss of central vision
  • A dense shadow throughout the visual field

The patient should be taken to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

Treatment of a Retinal Detachment

To prevent permanent vision loss, the retina must be quickly reattached. Treatment for retinal detachment can be done through one or more of the following methods:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Laser photocoagulation
  • Pneumatic retinopexy
  • Scleral buckle
  • Vitrectomy

Most surgeries to repair a retinal detachment are successful. In some cases, a second procedure will need to be performed. After a successful procedure, vision will take time to improve but may not return to previous levels of acuity.