Retinal detachment occurs when the retina comes away from its underlying layer of support tissue at the very back of the eye. This is an emergency scenario and it is imperative that you seek an immediate appointment with Dr. Ahdoot in Sunnyside, Queens, NY to prevent permanent vision loss.
Causes of Retinal Detachment
In many cases, a detached retina is caused by changes to the natural vitreous jelly that is found inside your eyes. These changes typically occur as part of the aging process and are referred to as posterior vitreous detachment or PVD. PVD is characterized by the shrinking of vitreous jelly which then pulls on the retina, placing it and it’s supporting structures under pressure. With enough force placed onto it, the retina can detach from the supporting blood vessels and tissues, putting it and your sight at risk.
Retinal detachment isn’t a foregone conclusion for all people of a certain age. However, experts have identified a range of risk factors that could significantly increase the likelihood of developing the condition. These include:
- A diagnosis of myopia (near-sightedness)
- A prior eye injury
- A family history of retinal detachment
- A prior eye surgery
Symptoms of Retinal Detachment
Since retinal detachment is a serious and potentially vision-threatening scenario, it is valuable to know the symptoms of the condition. If you experience any of the following, it is advisable to seek an appointment with our team for a possible retinal detachment:
- The sudden appearance of floaters in your field of vision
- A sudden increase in the size or appearance of floaters you have been experiencing
- Flashes of light in your vision
- A dark curtain or shadow spreading across the vision of one eye
- Sudden blurred vision
In most instances, you can expect to be referred for investigation and treatment within 24 hours. This process involves our team using specialist, non-invasive equipment to look at the inside and back of your eyes.
Treatment for Retinal Detachment
Exactly what treatment you will need for retinal detachment will depend on your individual circumstances, but typically you can expect to undergo surgery to reattach the retina within 24 hours. Surgery has a very high success rate, with around 8 in 10 patients finding that a single repair is sufficient to restore their vision for the long term.
There are three different types of surgery which can be used to resolve retinal detachment.
Vitrectomy. This process involves the removal of the vitreous jelly from the back of your eye, where it will be replaced with a silicone oil or gas bubble which is used to hold your retina in place while it heals, lying flat against the back of your eye once more.
Scleral buckle surgery. A thin band of synthetic material is used to place pressure on the outside of your eye, causing the inside wall to move inwards a little. This pushes the inside of your eye against the detached retina and into a position where it will naturally heal and reattach.
Pneumatic retinopexy. A small gas bubble is placed over the site of the detachment, but without removing any vitreous jelly.
After your retinal reattachment surgery, you will need to use antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eyedrops as directed while you heal. These will help prevent infection and reduce swelling and inflammation which will make your eyes feel more comfortable. It is normal to take up to a fortnight away from work while your eyes heal, and it is imperative that you follow the aftercare advice provided by your surgical team.
If you are concerned about retinal detachment, don’t delay in seeking professional, vision-saving advice from our experienced ophthalmology team. Contact us at our offices in Sunnyside, Queens, NY today to speak to us or to arrange an appointment.