Retinal Detachment

The retina is one of the most important parts of the eye, having a vital role to play in the process of seeing. It is a delicate, photosensitive bit of tissue located in the posterior region of the eye and is rich in special cells called rods and cones. The iris, cornea, and the lens direct rays of light reflected from the object focused on to the retina, which then transforms the information received into an electrical impulse and sends it to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain then proceeds to make sense of the impulse received, as a result of which we see. If anything happens to the retina, we will not be able to see properly.

Explaining Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a condition in which the retinal peels off the posterior wall of the eye. The parts of the retina that are detached are no longer able to function properly, which means that the correct electrical impulse can no longer be sent to the brain. People suffering from retinal detachment, therefore, cannot see properly.

Retinal Detachment Symptoms

The first warning signs of retinal detachment are floaters and flashes. Damage in the form of holes and tears in the retina usually precede the actual detachment of the retina from the posterior wall of the eye; however, retinal damage has no symptoms and can be detected only during an exhaustive eye exam. That’s why you must schedule eye exams frequently, and visiting an ophthalmologist is a must if you suddenly start seeing too many floaters and flashes of bright white light.

If you see some black objects, black curtains, cobwebs, or shadows that prevent you from seeing properly, you must visit the doctor because these are clear signs of retinal detachment.

Retinal Detachment Causes

Retinal detachment is the result of a damaged retina. If you get a tear or a hole in your retina, it will gradually get detached from the posterior wall of the eye. The retina can get damaged if it is very thin or if the vitreous, the part of the eye that strongly resembles jelly, gets detached from the retina.

Severe head or eye injuries and medical conditions such as diabetes can also cause retinal detachment. Surgical procedures conducted to correct other eye conditions such as cataracts can also lead to retinal detachment.

Retinal damage, however, need not necessarily lead to a retinal detachment. In fact, the number of retinal detachments caused by retinal damage is very low. Most cases of retinal detachment are due to eye injuries and serious eye ailments such as cataracts.

Retinal detachments are common among highly myopic young adults because they have a weak retina. In case of older people, the retina gets detached after cataract surgery.

Retinal Detachment Treatment

There are two ways to treat retinal detachment:
• Retinal damage can be treated with laser therapy.
• Retinal detachment can be corrected with surgical procedures such as pneumatic retinopexy, vitrectomy, and scleral buckling
The most common surgical procedure for retinal detachment is scleral buckling.