Does a Detached Retina Mean I am Forever Blind?
If something is detached, it was once attached to something, right? And if a vital component to your vision is no longer attached, what could this mean? Does a detached retina mean I am forever blind? Before you worry unnecessarily, let’s take a little time to understand what the retina is, how it can become detached, the signs and symptoms to look out for and what course of action to take to ensure you do not suffer permanent vision loss.
The retina is the thin layer of tissue located at the back of the eye. The retina senses the light and sends the images to the brain to interpret what you see. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina pulls away from its normal position and is categorized in 3 different types: rhegmatogenous, tractional and exudative. Rhegmatogenous is the most common type and is caused by aging. The vitreous, the gel-like fluid that fills the eye, changes texture, and shrinks over time, eventually pulling on the retina causing a tear or detachment. Tractional retinal detachment is caused by scar tissue often related to diabetic retinopathy but can be caused by other eye diseases or conditions. Exudative retinal detachment occurs when fluid builds up behind the retina. Leaking blood vessels and swelling in the back of the eye, brought on by trauma or injury to the eye (often through sports), are the most common causes for exudative detachment. Age-related macular degeneration, tumors in the eye and eye diseases that cause inflammation can also bring on exudative retinal detachment.
Signs of a detached retina include an increase of floaters, spots, or squiggly lines across your field of vision, a sudden onset of flashes of light and a dark curtain-like shadow over your peripheral vision. Although usually painless, a detached retina is an emergency, and you should seek immediate medical care to preserve your vision. Retinal detachment can be treated in several different ways including vitrectomy, scleral buckle, pneumatic retinopexy, cryotherapy and laser therapy. If a detached retina is not treated right away, more of the retina can continue to pull away increasing the risk of permanent vision loss or blindness. Retinal detachment has caused blindness in 1 in 10,000 people worldwide. It cannot be stressed enough to receive treatment at the first symptoms of a detached retina.
Because most retinal detachments are often brought on by age, the only prevention methods are to wear protective eye wear when playing sports and to make time for a yearly comprehensive exam to check the health of your eyes. To schedule your exam with Associated Retina Consultants, call 602-242-4928 or book online at WEBSITE.