Eye health is an important matter that we must attend to at every age. In many instances, it is assumed that, with good habits and care, conditions can be prevented. This may be truer in some situations than others. For example, one of the risk factors for cataracts is sun exposure; so, wearing sunglasses is one way to reduce the risk of getting cataracts. Retinal detachment is a condition for which preventive measures do not exist. The best way to manage the risk of retinal detachment is to know why it may happen and what to do if it does.
Types of Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment may occur for three specific reasons:
- Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment occurs when the retina has torn slightly away from the back of the eye. This is often an age-related problem. A gel-like fluid, the vitreous, exists in the center of the eye. It creates a buffer of pressure that holds ocular structures in place. With age, the vitreous becomes watery. This change can result in tugging that pulls the retina away from the posterior lining of the eye. When a retinal tear occurs, vitreous fluid can leak behind this piece of tissue, causing it to completely separate from its base.
- Tractional retinal detachment occurs when scar tissue has formed on the retina. This condition is usually related to diabetes and the damage this medical problem causes to the blood vessels in the eye. Fragile blood vessels can leak fluid onto and around the retina, forcing separation from the back of the eye.
- Exudative retinal detachment occurs without a tear or scarring. It is far less common than the other forms of retinal detachment. It involves the unexplained accumulation of fluid behind the retina.
Signs of Retinal Detachment
The risks of retinal detachment include having a family history of this condition, having had an eye injury or previous eye surgery, and simply getting older. Because risk factors are difficult to control, eye doctors focus on recognizing signs of a detaching retina. These include:
- Sudden eye floaters, spots across the field of vision.
- Flashes of light.
- Darkened vision, like closing curtains.
- Blurred vision.
If signs of retinal detachment occur, it is necessary to go to the nearest emergency room for prompt medical care. Vitreo Retinal Surgery, PA serves areas including Minneapolis, Plymouth, St. Paul, and more. To schedule a visit at an office near you, call (800) VRS-2500.