It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dr. Rahul Reddy. Click here to read more
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dr. Rahul Reddy. Click here to read more Patient Portal Career Center (602) 242-4928

Retinal Detachment: Causes, Signs, and Emergency Treatment

Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition that requires emergency treatment to ensure vision is not lost. Left untreated can result in total blindness. When tissues at the back of the eye pull away from a layer of blood vessels that provide necessary oxygen and nourishment, vision is severely affected. There are 3 types of retinal detachment: rhegmatogenous, tractional and exudative. Each type occurs based on a different problem that causes the retina to move away from its position at the back of the eyes. Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment is the most common type and is brought on due to natural aging. As the vitreous, gel-like substance in the eye changes in texture and begins to shrink over time, the vitreous pulls on the retina causes it to tear. Tractional retinal detachment occurs when scar tissue on the retina forces the retina to pull away from the back of the eye. It is typically brought on because of diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition common in people with diabetes. Exudative retinal detachment occurs when fluid builds up behind the retina that causes blood vessels to leak as well as swelling at that back of the eye. 

Causes and risk factors of retinal detachment are a high degree of nearsightedness, post cataract surgery complication, ocular trauma, loss of vitreous, retinal breaks, lattice retinal degeneration, glaucoma and family history of retinal detachment. Warning signs of a retinal detachment include an increase of floaters or spots drifting across the field of vision, flashes of light also called photopsia, and a shadow of a curtain-like image moving across vision causing loss of central vision. If only a small portion of the retina has detached, you may not have any symptoms. But as soon as any of these symptoms become noticeable, seek immediate medical treatment. 

Once at emergency care, possible treatment options include laser photocoagulation vitrectomy, cryotherapy, scleral buckle, expanding gas, air injection and silicone oil injection. Most options include a variation of replacing the vitreous in the eye with a method of reaffixing the retina back to its place at the back of the eye. Treatments are most successful when caught early so do not delay contacting an eye doctor at the first sign of symptoms. 

Although there are no prevention methods for retinal detachment, retinal imaging as part of your comprehensive eye exam will give your doctor a full scope of the health of your retina to monitor any concerns. To book your exam at Associated Retina Consultants, call 602-242-4928 or schedule conveniently online at WEBSITE