Eye Care 101: Beware of Retinal Detachment

One of the best ways to taking care of your eye health is by learning the possible conditions you might have. Discover what retinal detachment can do to your eye.Eye Care 101: Beware of Retinal Detachment

Although anyone may get a retinal detachment, they are far more common in some groups. These include nearsighted people, those over 50, those who have had significant eye injuries, and those with a family history of retinal detachments.

How are retinal tears and detachment treated?

Retinal tears with minimal or no detachment may be treated with laser or freezing (cryopexy) procedures. Some retinal tears do not require treatment.

Most of retinal detachment require surgery to reposition the separated retina against the back wall of the eye. There are several methods in use today. The type of surgery used depends on the type and extent of detachment, and the preference of the patient and retina surgeon.

Scleral buckling is the most common operation for a detached retina. In this procedure, the causative retinal tear or tears are located and treated. A flexible piece of rubber is then sewn to the sclera (white of the eye) to support the area of tears and detachment. Fluid may be drained from under the detached retina.

Pneumatic retinopexy is a newer method for retinal detachment repair. It is not suitable for all types of detachment. In this technique, the causative tear or tears are identified and treated. A bubble of a special gas is then injected INTO the eye. The gas is used to push against the area of the retinal tears.

Vitrectomy is another surgical method to treat some types of retinal detachment. It is usually used for detachments with unusual or difficult features, such as very large tears, scar tissue on the retina, excessive blood in the vitreous, or detachments that failed by other methods.

Will I get my vision back if I have detached retina?

With current methods, about 9 out of 10 retinal detachments can be repaired. Because the detachment may damage the retina, most people do not get back perfect vision.

If the macula (the central, most sensitive part of the retina) was not affected by the detachment, about 2 out of 3 eyes will get back reading vision. If this area was affected, only about 1 out of 3 eyes will get back reading vision.

How to Prevent Retinal Detachment

  • Use protective eyewear to prevent eye trauma.
  • Control your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes.
  • Be alert to symptoms of new flashes of light and/or floaters.
  • Lastly, see your Arizona eye doctor at least once every year. You may need more frequent visits if you have risk factors for retinal detachment.