What is retinal detachment?
Retinal detachment is a condition where the retina separates from the pigmented layer beneath, to which it is normally applied. In order to function correctly, the retina needs to be attached to this pigmented layer so if this condition is not identified and treated quickly and effectively, it can result in vision loss from part or the whole of the eye. Reasons for this retinal detachment are usually because it has developed holes or tears in it. The holes or tears allow fluid to pass beneath the retina and this causes the separation of the retina from the pigment layer beneath.
Causes of retinal detachment
Retinal detachment tends to happen spontaneously and can occur at any time and at any age, although it most commonly happens in those aged over 60. There are certain people who may be more prone to the condition, for instance short-sighted people and those who have suffered a severe injury to the eye; however the majority of retinal detachments occur without warning in otherwise healthy people.
Flashing lights: Patients may experience flashing lights, commonly around the edges of their vision.
Floaters: Debris in the vitreous (the gel that fills the eye) can cast a shadow on the retina, which can lead to floaters – objects that appear to move across the field of vision in keeping with the more mobile vitreous gel. Long-standing floaters are very common and can take different forms and shapes, but a dramatic and sudden increase in floaters may be cause for concern and should be urgently investigated to make sure there is no sign of retinal tear or detachment
Dark Shadow: A dark shadow may appear in the corner of vision if the retina is detaching, and the more the retina detaches the more this can progress to involve central vision, making visual recovery by treatment less likely.
Treatment for retinal detachment involves surgery whereby the holes/tears in the retina are sealed and the retina can be re-attached. However, if retinal tears are identified before any retinal detachment has occurred then laser treatment can be performed by your Ophthalmologist to prevent retinal detachment from occurring.
Should retinal detachment occur, different surgical treatments are available:
SCLERAL BUCKLING SURGERY: The retinal tears may be sealed by suturing silicone or sponge supports to indent the wall of the eye; these remain unnoticeable under the cover of the eyelids and conjunctiva on a permanent basis. Cryotherapy (freezing treatment) creates a scar around the tear(s) to prevent further detachment.
VITRECTOMY: In most cases the vitreous is removed from the eye (vitrectomy operation) and replaced with a gas bubble, or occasionally silicone oil bubble, acting as a support for the retina so that it is able to heal. Laser treatment or cryotherapy (freezing treatment) creates a scar around the tear(s) to prevent further detachment.
It is normal to feel some discomfort, itching and sticky eyelids post-retinal detachment surgery, and also for the eye to water. The eye would usually heal in about 2 to 4 weeks, but recovery of vision can be slow and the eventual result depends on the initial findings and stage of retinal detachment prior to surgery. Pain, loss of vision or increasing redness around the eye are symptoms which should be reported after the operation, and may require a change in the drop treatment following surgery.
There are many different types of retinal detachment, some of which are more serious than others and there may be a risk of developing worse vision or requiring repeat surgery. These situations will be carefully assessed and discussed with you by your Consultant before planning treatment. Consultant Vitreoretinal Surgeons at the Private Patient Centre at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital are involved in providing a tertiary referral centre for all patients with vitreoretinal problems in the North-West of England and beyond, with a great team of nurses and state of the art equipment. There are ideally placed to treat your condition.
How do I make an appointment?
Your Consultant’s secretary will be able to assist you with availability and costs for your chosen consultant. You can find their contact details by clicking on the link below or visitig the Consultants section.
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