The posterior region of the eye is lined with a thin membrane made of nerve tissue. This membrane is known as retina. When a part of the retina or the entire retina separates or gets detached from the posterior region of the eye, it is called as retinal detachment. The function of the retina is to perceive light entering the eye and send signals to the brain. When there is retinal detachment, this function doesn’t work anymore and causes blurred or lost vision. Retinal detachment is a serious medical condition and requires prompt medical care. Surgery, if done early, can help in saving the vision.
Causes of Retinal Detachment
- A direct injury/trauma to the eye or head from a blunt object. Boxers commonly suffer from this condition.
- Ageing process makes the retina weak and thin and makes it more vulnerable to detachment.
- PVD or posterior vitreous detachment also leads to retinal detachment. As the vitreous gel shrinks, it pulls on the retina causing it to separate or tear.
- If there are minute holes inside the retina, they allow the fluid present between the retina and lens to ooze through and accumulate. This fluid accumulation causes the retina to tear from the posterior part of the eye where its blood supply is located. With decreased blood supply, the retinal cells start to die.
- Other medical conditions such as diabetes, nearsightedness, eye diseases may also cause retinal detachment.
Symptoms of Retinal Detachment
- Patient has floaters and flashes of light in the field of his vision.
- Blurred vision.
- A persistent shadow, partially in the field of vision.
- Abrupt loss of peripheral vision.
Treatment for Retinal Detachment
- Patient should consult an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) immediately.
- The ophthalmologist will examine the eye using an ophthalmoscope to see the extent of tear or detachment in the retina.
- An ultrasound scan also helps in diagnosing retinal detachment.
- Surgery is required and is the only way to reattach the retina. In majority of the cases, the surgery can restore good vision. Surgery can be done using air bubbles, lasers, or a freezing probe to close the retinal tear and reattach the retina.