What is Retinal Detachment?
This is a condition in which the retina of the eye pulls apart from its normal position, affecting vision. Sometimes only small bits of it will rip away - they are called retinal tears or breaks - but that can result in detachment too. Once it happens, eyesight is severely affected. If it goes untreated, it will spread to nearby regions and reaching the macula, it will cause loss of central vision.
The symptoms involve:
- Blurred vision
- A shadow over the visual field that resembles a curtain
- Reduced peripheral vision
- Flashes of light in the eyes
- Small specks that float around your field of vision
The treatment involves surgery to repair torn or detached retina of which there are various methods.
What Causes the Condition?
The retina is located at the back of the eyeball and is basically a layer with cells. These cells send nerve impulses through the optic nerve to the brain, and this is how final visual pictures are created.
When the eye has suffered an inflammation, injury or vascular abnormalities, fluid might begin to build under the retina. Age is a factor too. Older people have an increased risk of retinal detachment as compared to youngsters. Other risk factors include previous eye surgery, extreme near-sightedness, and a family history of such a deformity.
Retinal Detachment Surgery: Types of Procedures
There are two main detachment surgeries, so to say. Broadly speaking, the retina may be reattached by an external procedure known as scleral buckling, which involves placing a band around the eyeball to support the retina. Or it can get fixed using an internal procedure known as vitrectomy. It works by disposing of the incriminating vitreous gel and reattaching the retina directly with a tamponade agent and retinal laser (laser surgery).
This procedure focuses on something called sclera - the white segment around the ball. It belongs to the outermost layer of the wall of the eye. This is where the surgeon attaches a small sponge or piece of silicone. An important thing to note is that the gadget should also be placed near a retinal tear. Then, the buckle is supposed to push the sclera toward that tear. From this position, it works to repair the retina.
The procedure might be done under general or local anaesthesia. If you are not going to be put to sleep, your eye will be numbed with eye drops.
If the retina is not completely detached from the underneath layer, the doctors might use a method called pneumatic retinopexy. It involves injecting gas into the eye to move the retina back in place.
As explained above, the procedure removes the vitreous gel from the eye. The first step is to prepare the area for the intervention. The medical staff will use anaesthesia to numb the treatment site. They will clean the eye using an antiseptic solution and cover it with a sterile material. A speculum will keep it open throughout the manipulation. The eye that is not going to be operated on will be put a protective dressing. The surgeon will make a cut of about 0.5 millimetres, approximately the width of an eyelash, in the eye membrane. They will work through the pars plana which is located in the white of the eye.
Using forceps, the specialist can open the incision and then insert a small microscope that will enable them to see the troubled area. With the help of a vitrectomy probe, they cut the gel that is causing the problem and suck the fluid up with a special tool.
At this point, there are different methods that the surgeon can go by. They may treat clots and abnormal blood vessels, if such exists, and fix any retinal injuries. If there is bloody, cloudy or infected fluid, they will drain it using a silicone-tipped needle. A laser can be used to burn the affected site and cause scarring. It is precisely the scar tissue that will serve to keep the retina attached to the eye later on.
When this part of the surgery is over, the vitreous gel will be replaced with something similar to silicon oil, air bubble, gas, or saline solution. The last step is to apply an antibiotic solution to the treated area to prevent infection. A protective bandage is put onto the eye.
There are other methods that can be used to seal the retina to the eye such as cryopexy (a freezing treatment), however, they are not the subject of discussion here.
How a Procedure Is Chosen
The decision on which surgical procedure is performed is made by our surgeon according to the patient’s needs and type of Retinal Detachment along with other factors including whether there is any pre-existing cataract.
Why Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre
At Asia Retina, each surgery is customized and individualized based on the patient’s requirements, to ensure the best visual outcome possible.