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Eye Emergency: Retinal Detachment

Eye Emergency: Retinal Detachment
Eye Emergency: Retinal Detachment


The retina is a light-sensitive membrane that ensures the transformation of visual input into electrical signals that travel to the brain. When this membrane separates from the back of the eye, retinal detachment occurs. Consequently, patients experience partial or total vision impairment, depending on the detached area. In many instances, patient may just see flash(es) of light and followed blurred vision and floaters.

In this article, we will briefly discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments of retinal detachment.

What causes retinal detachment?

Based on the type of retinal detachment, several causes can be identified. Here are the common types of retinal detachment and their respective triggers:

Rhegmatogenous – tearing of the retina that pushes fluid under, which separates the membranes.

Tractional – a less common type of retinal detachment (RD) that occurs due to tissue scarring. People with diabetes mellitus are susceptible to developing this type of RD.

Exudative – this type of RD does not concur with any tearing of breaks in the retina. However, patients with retroorbital (i.e., behind the eye socket) cancer, inflammatory conditions, and Coat’s disease are more likely to develop exudative detachment.

What are the signs and symptoms of retinal detachment?

Interestingly, RD does not present with symptoms of pain. The primary signs and symptoms include:

· Blurry vision

· Partial vision loss

· Abrupt flashes

· Sudden appearance of floaters

The following factors increase your risk of retinal detachment:

· Aging — retinal detachment is more common in people over age 50

· Previous retinal detachment in one eye

· Family history of retinal detachment

· Extreme nearsightedness (myopia)

· Previous eye surgery, such as cataract removal

· Previous severe eye injury

· Previous other eye disease or disorder, including retinoschisis, uveitis or thinning of the peripheral retina (lattice degeneration)

The treatment options for retinal detachment

In the vast majority of cases, surgery is the main approach to treat retinal detachment. Other procedures that focus on fixing simple tears include:

· Photocoagulation

· Cryopexy

· Retinopexy

· Scleral buckling

· Vitrectomy

Takeaway message

Retinal detachment is a common eye emergency that affects millions of people every year and it requires urgent care. We hope that today’s article simplified this complex topic; however, if you still have further questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.


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