Retinal detachment is an actual emergency and necessitates immediate treatment to avoid severe visual loss and even potential blindness.
The lining on the interior of the eyeball is a layer of light-sensitive neural cells which is called the retina. Similar to a camera, the retina takes in the light rays and transforms them into electrical signals. These signals traverse throughout the optic nerve up to the brain in which they are transformed into pictures. The retina is positioned on top of the choroid which is a tissue responsible for providing nourishment to the retina. Retinal detachment occurs once the retina detaches from the choroid.
What are the forms of retinal detachment?
- Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment is the most common from which is triggered by gashes or openings in the retina.
- Tractional retinal detachment takes place once the scar tissue or other anomalous tissue develops on the retinal surface which jerks the retina away from the layer below it.
- Exudative retinal detachment develops once fluid or blood flows below the retina which separates it from the lower layer. This is usually a complication of other conditions such as eye tumors, macular degeneration and high blood pressure.
What are the causes?
Retinal detachment is often due to trauma. It is common among nearsighted individuals who have a slightly longer eyeball. Some cases occur spontaneously without any specific cause. These are often linked to changes to the vitreous which is the gel-like fluid that fills the eye cavity.
As an individual start to age, the vitreous liquefies and separates from the retina, thus resulting to posterior vitreal detachment. There are also certain conditions that can also cause detachment by allowing new growth of blood vessels and scarring that leads to retinal contractions.
- Age-related changes to the vitreous
- Eye trauma
- Weakened areas in the periphery of the retina
- History of eye surgery such as cataract surgery
- High level of nearsightedness
- Previous detachment
- History of retinal detachment
What are the symptoms?
Remember that there is no pain once the retina detaches. Nevertheless, there are a number of common visual symptoms that are indications to a potential retinal detachment such as the following:
- Flashes of light
- Floaters that might appear that appear as gray spots, spider webs or strings that float in the vision field
- Blurred vision
- Darkened veil or curtain that moves over the line of vision
Once an individual experience any of these symptoms, it is vital to seek medical care. Remember that time is vital in managing a retinal detachment. Prompt treatment can improve the chance of restoring normal vision.