Retinal detachment occurs when the retina of the eye is pulled away from the underlying tissue to which it is attached. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency which can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. In most cases, the detachment is a slowly progressing issue which must be treated once symptoms are realized. In some cases, a detachment occurs due to a trauma which causes a tear in the retina, allowing fluid to enter the vitreous and pull on the retinal tissue.
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Causes Of A Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment can be complication of cataract surgery. A severe inflammation may alter the position of the retinal tissue and begin the detachment process. Other causes of a retinal detachment may be as follows:
- A retinal tear
- Family history of retinal detachment
- Cataract surgery
- Existing eye condition
Symptoms Of A Retinal Detachment
Symptoms of retinal detachment may progress slowly or rapidly, but both should be reported to a medical doctor as soon as possible so as to minimize the risk of vision loss. Some of the symptoms of a retinal detachment include:
- A sudden decrease in visual acuity
- A sudden increase in the amount of “floaters” in vision
- Bright flashes in the periphery
- An unnatural “curving” of straight lines
- Loss of central vision
- A dense shadow throughout the visual field
The patient should be taken to an emergency room as quickly as possible.
Diagnosis Of A Retinal Detachment
Diagnosis of a retinal detachment is made after a thorough medical eye examination by one of our ophthalmologists and the performance of the following diagnostic tests:
- Dilated eye examination
- Ultrasound of the eye
- Fundus photography of the retina
- Visual acuity test
- Slit-lamp examination
- Fluorescein angiography
Treatment Of A Retinal Detachment
A retinal detachment may be treated in many ways, which may include one or both of the following:
- Laser photocoagulation
- Pneumatic retinopexy
- Scleral buckle
Most surgeries to repair a retinal detachment are successful. In some cases, a second procedure will need to be performed. After a successful procedure, vision will take time to improve but may not return to previous levels of acuity.