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Retinal Detachment: What are the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

  • Posted on- Oct 21, 2016
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Retina is a layer of tissue at the back of the eye, which helps to see images focused on it by the cornea and lens. Retinal Detachment is an eye disorder, wherein the retina gets separated from the underlying layer of blood vessels, which supplies oxygen and other nutrients to it. When the retina gets detached, the supply of oxygen and nutrients are stopped. If the condition is left untreated, it may even lead to a complete vision loss and blindness.

Retinal detachment risk factors

  • Adults above the age of 40 years
  • A previous occurrence of retinal detachment
  • A family history of the condition
  • Individuals with severe nearsightedness
  • Any previous eye surgery, like cataract removal
  • Congenital abnormalities affecting the eye
  • Any trauma or eye injury (including head injury), experienced previously
  • Use of certain eye drops (like pilocarpine for treatment of glaucoma - a condition of elevated eye pressures)
  • Certain disorders affecting the eye, such as chronic inflammation of the eye (known as uveitis)
  • Participation in certain rough/contact sports, like boxing

Factors responsible for retinal detachment

  • Bending or drooping of the vitreous that can occur with advancing age, due to a change in its consistency
  • Advanced stages of diabetes
  • Trauma/injury to the eye
  • Any eye inflammatory disorder may trigger retinal detachment

Signs and symptoms of retinal detachment

  • Sudden appearance of ‘flashing’ bright lights, especially in the peripheral vision
  • Vision becomes blurred
  • The individuals experience illusions that some small objects like spots, hairs, or strings ,are moving in the eye (called floaters)
  • Blindness in the affected eye
  • A shadow keeps appearing in the vision field

Lab tests to detect retinal detachment

  • Physical examination and evaluation of complete medical history
  • Electroretinogram
  • Measuring the intraocular pressure
  • Fluorescein angiography
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Refraction test
  • Retinal photography, which aims to project the photographs of the inner surface of the eye
  • Visual acuity
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Ultrasound of the eye

What are the treatment options for retinal detachment?

Most individuals suffering from retinal detachment would need a surgery, either immediately or after a short time. When the eye condition is mild, then surgery may be performed using lasers to close the holes/tears in the retina or Pneumatic retinopexy in which gas bubbles are placed in the eye, in order to make the retina go back to its original place.

Prevention of retinal detachment

  • Use of protective eye wear is recommended, when working with hammers, lawn mowers, weed-eaters, fireworks, or any similar equipment that can cause an eye injury
  • All diabetic individuals are advised to keep their sugar level under control consistently
  • Consultation with an eye specialist at least once a year is recommended, especially for elderly adults and those who are at risk for a retinal detachment


user profile image
20-02-2018 05:09 AM

Repairing a retinal detachment is a common procedure performed by retina surgeons, maintaining the health of the eye and achieving good visual .

user profile image
02-05-2017 08:51 AM

I had suffered from a retinal detachment which occurred after an eye injury. Then I had my surgery done and the operation was quite succesful.

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