What Is Retinal Detachment And Are You At Risk?

eyes close up

There are various conditions that affect the eyes and many of them develop slowly. A case of retinal detachment, however, is one that needs immediate medical care. It occurs when the retina separates from the back of your eye, resulting in partial or total vision loss. Read on as we explain this condition and some ways to manage it.

How does it happen?

Your eyes have a light-sensitive layer of tissue called the retina. It lines the inside of the eye and is the one responsible for sending visual cues through the optic nerve, which are then converted in the brain as images. Retinal detachment comes from the pulling or lifting of the retina from its normal position. This deprives the retinal cells of the oxygen and nourishment they need to function properly. It’s an emergency that requires prompt treatment or it may cause permanent vision loss.

What are the different types of retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment happens in different ways. Mainly, there are three types:

  • Rhegmatogenous – This is the most common type of retinal detachment. It is characterized by a break or tear allows fluid to get under the retina and remove it from the retinal pigment epithelium, the pigmented cell layer that sustains the retina.
  • Exudative – In this type of detachment, fluid flows into the area underneath the retina even when there are no breaks or tears in the retina. Retinal cancer, trauma/injury to the eye, and inflammatory disorders are the usual causes of exudative retinal detachment.
  • Tractional – This occurs when a scar on the retina’s surface contracts and prompts the retina to separate from the retinal pigment epithelium. Tractional retinal detachment is more common in people with diabetes who suffer from severe diabetic retinopathy.

Who’s At Risk?

Age plays a role in the likelihood of retinal detachment. The disease is found to be common among nearsighted adults between the ages 25 and 50. One type, the rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, reaches its peak prevalence in people aged 60 to 70 years and affects men more than women, white people more than black people. The risk also increases for individuals who have suffered blunt head or eye trauma, had eye surgeries, or are diabetic.

Can Retinal Detachment Be Prevented?

There are many ways to maintain the health of your eyes and ensure accurate vision for as long as possible. These include visiting an eye specialist for regular checkups, especially if you are nearsighted. It’s also important to wear proper eye and head gear when engaging in sports and other hazardous activities to avoid injuries. Since diabetes is also a risk factor for the disease, it pays to monitor your condition and stick to a prescribed diet, exercise, and medication.

Retinal detachment can lead to a complete vision impairment the longer it is left untreated. At Arizona Retinal Specialists, our eye care team will always address your needs. Call our office in Sun City, AZ, today at (623) 474-3937 to schedule for a checkup. We also serve clients in Sun City West, AZ.