Understanding Retinal Detachment
A retinal detachment happens to one in 10,000 people in the U.S. every year. If not properly treated, this serious eye problem can lead to loss of sight. As we age, the eye’s vitreous gel contracts and liquefies, making it more likely to cause a tear in your retina. The fluid inside the eye can then leak through the tear, and the retina may separate from the back of the eye.
Risk factors that could lead to retinal detachment
- History of cataract surgery
- Family history of retinal detachment
- Retinal detachment in the other eye
- Weak areas in the retina
Symptoms that could indicate a retinal detachment
Since retinal detachment causes no pain, contact your eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Flashing lights
- Area of darkness that may enter your vision from the side
Can a retinal detachment be repaired?
The condition can typically be treated with surgery, performed under local anesthesia in about an hour. It can be accomplished by:
- Bringing the retina back into position
- Sealing the torn area
One of the most common surgical repair techniques is the scleral buckle, performed by placing a silicone band around the eye.
In some cases, if the detachment is minor, it can be treated with:
- Laser therapy
- Cryotherapy (freezing)
- Pneumatic retinopexy (the injection of air or gas into the eye, along with laser or cryo)
This procedure is only for certain detachments and requires that the patient maintains a specific head position so that the air or gas bubble can float up against the retina to keep it in position as it heals.
After retinal reattachment
Your outcome will usually depend on:
- The length of time your retina has been detached
- How much of your retina is detached
- Whether or not the center of your vision is affected
If the center of vision isn’t involved, close to full recovery of vision is possible. If the center of vision is affected, it’s likely you will experience some permanent vision loss.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in learning more about Retinal Detachment, please call (800) VRS-2500 to schedule a consultation at one of our locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Blaine, Edina, Oakdale, Plymouth, St. Cloud and Duluth.