A detached retina or retinal tear occurs when the retina detaches from the layer underneath. The retina is a fragile tissue, a layer of nerve cells lining the back wall inside the eye. The retina senses light and works to send a signal to the brain so that you can see. All of us need a healthy retina to be able to see clearly.
Retinal Detachment CausesRetinal detachment usually occurs in one eye and is a medical emergency. Often, the retinal detachment might only affect a small part of the retina, but without treatment, there are chances that the whole retina may peel off. This will automatically result in vision loss. Most retinal tears happen because of a retinal break, tear or hole. These tears or breaks don't just occur because of injuries. Some retinal tears happen spontaneously when the vitreous gel separates from its attachment to the retina. The vitreous gel is the clear gel that fills the space between the lens and the retina of the eyeball of humans. When the vitreous gel pulls loose, it exerts pressure on the retina. If the retina is weak, it will tear. Some retinal detachments are accompanied by bleeding too. Such detachments happen when a retinal blood vessel is included in the tear. With age, everyone develops some shrinkage of the vitreous, but only a small percentage of these separations result in retinal detachments. The liquid from the vitreous gel can pass through the rupture and accumulate behind the retina.
Symptoms of Retinal Detachment
- Flashing lights
- Loss of vision (like a curtain closing)
- Floaters – sudden onset
- Straight lines look twisted
- Patches of loss of vision
- Heaviness in the eye
- Straight lines begin to appear curved
Types of Retinal DetachmentThere are three types of retinal detachment:
Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment:Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment is the most common type of retinal detachment. It occurs when a tear in the retina leads to fluid accumulation with a separation of the neurosensory retina from the underlying retinal pigment epithelium.
Exudative retinal detachment:This kind of detachment happens when vascular abnormalities, injury or inflammation cause fluid to build up under the retina.
Tractional retinal detachment:This kind of retinal detachment happens when scar tissue on the retina's surface contracts and causes retina to pull away.
Other Factors Associated with Retinal Detachment
Family history:If you have a family history of a non-traumatic detached retina, then it may indicate a genetic or inherited tendency of developing retinal detachments.
A non-traumatic retinal detachment of one eye:In a few patients who suffer from the detached retina that is non-traumatic in one eye, then detachment occurs in the other eye subsequently. For such patients, the eye examinations must be followed carefully.
Diabetes:If a person who has diabetes develops diabetic retinopathy, then it can lead to a type of retinal detachment that is caused by pulling on the retina alone.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Retinal Detachment SurgerySurgery seems to be the ultimate resort to cure retinal detachment. Without retinal hole laser treatment, there is a risk that vitreoretinal traction or pulling won't be sealed, which could lead to a complete vision loss.
Laser surgery:In this kind of retinal surgery, a laser beam is directed through an ophthalmoscope or contact lens. The laser burns around the tear resulting in scarring tissue that then fuses the tissue back together.
Cryotherapy:This process involves applying extreme cold to the diseased tissue. It ultimately helps connect the retina to the wall of the eye.
Scleral buckling:In this process, thin bands of silicone rubber are sewn onto the sclera, which is the outside white of the eye. The tissue around that area may be frozen, or lasers may be used to scar the tissue.
Vitrectomy:In this process, the vitreous gel is removed from the eye, and a gas bubble or a silicone oil bubble is used to hold the retina back in place.
Complications Associated with Retinal Hole Laser TreatmentThough the success rate of this surgery is quite high. Still, a tiny percentage of people might need further surgery. The possible complications might include:
- Bruising of the eye or eyelids
- High pressure inside the eye
- Inflammation inside the eye
- Double vision
- Allergy to the medication used
- Infection in the eye (endophthalmitis) – this is very rare but can lead to a severe loss of sight