What is Retinal detachment?
The Retina is a thin layer attached to the back wall of the eye. The Retina is one of the key components responsible for vision.
Retinal detachment is a sight threatening condition where the retina lifts away from the back of the eye.
What are the symptoms of Retinal detachment?
Sudden onset of “floaters”, “flashing lights” or a “growing shadow/curtain” are symptoms compatible with retinal detachment.
These symptoms are caused by vitreous, the gel-like material in the eye, which shrinks and degenerates as we get older and detaches from the retina. Sometime the vitreous may pull stronger on the retina and create a retinal tear. Then fluid enters through the retinal tear and detaches the retina.
Retinal tear if not treated will lead to retinal detachment and loss of vision.
Is there treatment for Retinal detachment?
Laser treatment can be applied at early stages such as retinal tear and can prevent retinal detachment.
Vitrectomy is a procedure where the retina is re-attached to the wall of the eye from the inside. It involves the removal of vitreous (gel in the eye), treatment to the retinal tear and insertion of a gas or an oil bubble. The gas bubble will hold the retina as it heals. You cannot fly by plane until the gas bubble is reabsorbed. The eye naturally produces fluid over time. If an oil bubble is used, this will be removed a few months later. Vitrectomy is a c. 1 hour surgery done usually under local anaesthetic where the patient is awake. This is a day surgery and the patient goes home an hour post-surgery.
Scleral Buckle is a treatment where the wall of the eye is pushed to the retina from outside with a silicone band. It is a procedure of choice in certain types of retinal detachments, predominantly in younger patients. This is c. 2 hours surgery done under general anaesthetic where the patient is asleep. This is a day surgery and the patient goes home a couple of hours after surgery.
If you are experiencing a sudden onset of floaters, flashing lights or a growing shadow, you must seek an urgent ophthalmological review.
What are the risks for Retinal Detachment?
Myopia (the need for glasses to see far away)
Family history of retinal detachment
History of eye surgery f.ex. cataract surgery
Injury to the eye
History of retinal tear or retinal detachment in the other eye