Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition that occurs when the vitreous gel of your eye retracts. As a result, your retina (the layer of tissue at the back of your eye that processes light) separates, detaches or pulls away from the tissue and blood supply around it. Your torn retina cannot function properly when you have this condition as your retinal cells would die without blood and oxygen. Hence, get your eyes treated immediately if you want to avoid permanent vision loss. We explore the different types of retinal detachment surgeries available.
What are some of the symptoms of retinal detachment?
Although retinal detachment itself is relatively pain-free, warning signs typically appear before your retina is torn, including:
- Flashes of light in one or both eyes (photopsia)
- Blurry vision
- Decreasing side (peripheral) vision
- An abrupt appearance of many floaters (tiny specks that appear to drift through your field of vision)
- A curtain-like shadow over your field of vision
Light flashes are symptoms of retinal detachment.
Blurry vision is another possible indication of retinal detachment.
Retinal detachment surgeries
If your retina has detached or has pulled away from the surrounding tissue, surgery is required to repair it, ideally within days of a diagnosis. Your eye doctor usually would recommend one type of surgery based on various factors, including the degree of severity of your retinal detachment.
- Pneumatic retinopexy. Pneumatic retinopexy is a procedure whereby your surgeon injects a bubble of air or gas into the center part of your eye (the vitreous cavity). A well-positioned bubble would push the area of the retina containing the hole or holes against the wall of the eye to obstruct the flow of fluid into the space behind the retina. Cryopexy, a treatment that uses intense cold therapy to create and induce a chorioretinal scar to proactively destroy an abnormally growing retinal, can be used to address the retinal tear. Fluid that has been accumulated under the retina is absorbed by itself for the retina to stick to the wall of your eye. To ensure that the bubble remains in its proper position, you may need to hold your head in a certain position for a couple of days. Gradually, the bubble would reabsorb on its own.
- Scleral buckling. This procedure entails your surgeon sewing (suturing) a silicone material piece to the white of your eye (sclera) over the affected area. This procedure is for the purpose of indenting the wall of the eye and relieving some of the pressure caused by the vitreous tugging on the retina.
Should you suffer from a widespread retinal detachment with multiple tears, your surgeon may create a permanent scleral buckle that surrounds your entire eye while not blocking your vision.
- During this procedure, your surgeon removes the vitreous gel along with any tissue that is attached to and tugging on the retina. Your surgeon would then inject air, gas or silicone oil into the vitreous space to smoothen the retina out. As time goes on, the air, gas or liquid will be absorbed, and the vitreous space will refill with body fluid. Silicone oil that might have been used could be surgically removed months later. Vitrectomy might be done together with a scleral buckling procedure.
After surgery, your vision may take several months to improve. You may also need a second surgery for successful treatment.
Moreover, surgery usually has some accompanying risks. If you are under general anesthesia, you might experience problems with breathing. Also, some people may have serious reactions to the medication.
Book an eye check today!
Seek immediate medical attention if you have the symptoms of retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is a medical emergency in which you can permanently lose your vision. Book your eye appointment with planoEyecheck today to assess your eye health, especially if you have a family history of retinal detachment.
WebMD. 2021. Retinal Detachment. [online] Available at: <https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eye-health-retinal-detachment> [Accessed 25 November 2021].
Mayo Clinic. 2021. Retinal detachment – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/retinal-detachment/symptoms-causes/syc-20351344> [Accessed 25 November 2021].
Mayoclinic.org. 2021. Retinal detachment – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/retinal-detachment/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351348> [Accessed 25 November 2021].