In our previous article, we have established the importance of the retina in our overall eye wellness. Simply put, the retina houses our photoreceptors, the very critical cells that are responsible for transmitting images to our brain for visual recognition. Hence, it is highly important to ensure that our retina is always in the pink of health. Monitor closely for any symptoms that may suggest a developing retinal disease. While medical science has paved the way for today’s treatments, any delay in treatment may still lead to severe vision loss or even blindness.
One of the most common retinal diseases is retinal detachment. Here in this article, we will talk about its causes, symptoms, and treatments that are available for anyone who wants to get their vision back to its tip-top shape.
What is Retinal Detachment?
This condition occurs when the retina becomes loose and is pulled away from its normal position. The holes or tears usually start at a small part of the retina initially. Progression of this will cause the retina to peel off, which then leads to permanent vision loss.
There are three types of retinal detachment:
- Rhegmatogenous: This is the most common type of retinal detachment. A tear or hole in the retina enables fluid to get in through this opening. This liquid causes the retina to detach from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), very much like how a wallpaper peels off the wall when water seeps through.
- Tractional: This is a less common type of retinal detachment and is usually found in people with diabetes or damaged blood vessels in the retina. It occurs when a scar tissue on the surface pulls the retina away from the back of the eye.
- Exudative: In this type of retinal detachment, fluid builds up under the retina, but there are no tears or holes. Often, this is caused by other underlying retinal diseases.
Who are at risk of developing this condition?
Detachment of the retina may be triggered by several causes. You have a higher risk of developing this if:
- You have extreme myopia or nearsightedness
- Your family member has a history of retinal detachment
- You have had previous eye operation
- You had previous eye injury
- You are older than 50 years old
Symptoms of Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment is not painful. But there are other signs that may suggest the development of this condition. Take note that retinal detachment is a medical emergency. If you notice any of these symptoms, set an appointment with your eye doctor right away.
- Increase of eye floaters
- Flashes of light
- Darkening of peripheral vision
How is Retinal Detachment treated?
Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor has several treatment options.
For Retinal Tears
If a tear or a hole in the retina has not resulted in a detachment yet, the doctor will suggest the following procedure in order to preserve your vision and prevent retinal detachment from taking place.
Retinal tears laser treatment: The eye doctor will use a laser beam through the dilated pupil of the eye, to make ‘soldering’ burns around the holes or tears and attach the retina back into its place.
For Retinal Detachment
Once you’re diagnosed with retinal detachment, your doctor may advise you to go through a surgery depending on how severe the case is. Again, this condition is a medical emergency, so make sure to deal with it as soon as possible.
- Pneumatic retinopexy: The doctor will inject a gas bubble into the vitreous space of the eye. This bubble will push the detached retina and flatten it against the wall of the eye. The retinal tear will then be sealed by either using a laser beam.
- Scleral buckling: A silicone band will be sewn around the sclera, the outside of the eyeball. This will help keep the detached layers of the eye together by negating the force that is pulling the retina out of place.
- Vitrectomy: The vitreous gel that is causing the detachment of the retina will be removed using a small instrument. This will then be replaced with a gas bubble or silicone oil to help push the retina back to its place.
Retinal detachment may lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. That is why it is important to consult with your eye doctor immediately once you notice any vision changes mentioned above. There’s no reason to be nervous or afraid, Asia Retina is helmed by one of the best retinal detachment specialist in Singapore. We guarantee a light and friendly consultation, which will ensure your overall eye health and safety.
For appointments, call us at +65 6732 0007 or +65 9118 0007.