Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is lifted or pulled from the wall of the eye. If not treated immediately, a retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of a retinal detachment should call the office immediately.
Symptoms of retinal detachment
- The appearance of a curtain over the field of vision.
- Seeing light flashes
- Wavy or watery vision
- A sudden decrease in vision
- A sudden increase in the number of floaters in the field of vision
Who is most at risk for retinal detachment?
- Those who are very nearsighted
- The elderly
- People with a family history of retinal detachment
- Those who have had cataract surgery
- Patients with diabetes or other eye disorders
Treatment for retinal detachment
Retinal detachments are treated with surgery that may require a hospital stay. In some cases, a scleral buckle, a tiny synthetic band, is attached to the outside of the eyeball to gently push the wall of the eye against the detached retina. If necessary, a vitrectomy may also be performed. Vitrectomy is a procedure in which the vitreous humor is removed and replaced with a gas that pushes the retina back onto the wall of the eye. Over time the eye produces fluid that replaces the gas. In both of these procedures either a laser or a cryopexy (a freezing device) is used to “weld” the retina back in place.