Understanding Detached Retina: Its Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Author: Fardeen Ahmed

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Retinal detachment is a painless but serious condition in which a layer of tissue at the back of your eye, also known as the retina detaches from the layer of blood vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to the eyes. A detached retina, if not treated, will lead to loss of vision. The retina is responsible for sensing light and sending signals to your brain to facilitate vision. But a detached retina, without a proper supply of blood and nutrients, leads to vision disturbances.

Causes of Detached Retina

There are three types of retinal detachment classified based on their causes. They are:

  • Rhegmatogenous

This type of retina detachment usually happens as you get older. The presence of a small tear causes a fluid called vitreous humour to travel through the tear and collect behind the retina. This fluid pool then pushes the retina away, detaching it from the back of your eye. 

  • Tractional

This type of detachment is caused by the presence of scar tissue. High blood sugar can damage the blood vessels in your eye and cause scar tissue. This is why diabetes is a common cause of tractional retinal detachment. 

  • Exudative

Exudative retinal detachment happens when fluid buildup occurs behind the retina without a retinal tear. One of the main causes of such a fluid buildup is uveitis or eye inflammation. As the fluid collects, it pushes the retina away from its supporting tissue. 

Detached Retina Symptoms

Symptoms of a detached retina include:

  • Seeing flashes of light 
  • Seeing a lot of floaters like flecks, squiggly lines, threads and dark spots that move through your vision
  • Darkening of side vision
  • Darkening or shadowing of a part of your vision
  • Blurred vision

Risk Factors of Detached Retina

Risk factors of retinal detachment include:

  • Ageing
  • Eye injury
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Posterior vitreous detachment
  • Retina thinning
  • Diabetes-related retinopathy
  • History of retinal tear or detachment

Diagnosis of Detached Retina

Your eye care provider will do an eye exam to diagnose retinal detachment. Mostly, they do a dilated eye exam, where they use drops to dilate the pupil and then examine the retina. Other tests your eye care provider may suggest are:

  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
  • Fundus Imaging
  • Ocular Ultrasound
  • Computed Tomography (CT scan)

Complications of Untreated Detached Retina

If untreated, a detached retina can lead to several other serious medical conditions. Some of these include:

  • Permanent Loss of Vision

Untreated retinal detachment will cause irreversible damage to the retina and optic nerve leading to loss of vision. 

  • Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy

When the retina remains detached for an extended period, it leads to the formation of scar tissue on the retina or vitreous humour. This scar tissue will further pull the retina away from its supporting tissue, making the condition even more severe and beyond repair.

  • Macular Detachment

If the retinal detachment is associated with the macula, which is responsible for fine detail and central vision, the patient will lose visual accuracy and central vision. This will interrupt daily activities like reading, recognizing faces, driving etc.

  • Complete Retinal Detachment

If left untreated, the separated part of the retina due to several reasons will be pulled away further and end up completely separated from its supporting tissue. This stage of retinal detachment is difficult to manage or cure with surgery and results in loss of vision or complications during surgery.

  • Surgery Complications

Detached retina if left untreated for a long time will gradually progress to a difficult stage, where treatment becomes complicated. Surgery during such a stage can pose a lot of complications such as infection, damage to other parts of the eye like a lens or optic nerve, haemorrhage and increased intraocular pressure.

  • Glaucoma

Sometimes retinal detachment causes fluid buildup inside the eye. This increases intraocular pressure which hurts or damages the optic nerve and ends up causing glaucoma.

  • Psychological Impact

Loss of vision or fear associated with it can cause mental consequences like anxiety and depression.

Early diagnosis and treatment initiation along with top eye care providers like Nethradhama and their expert retina consultants will care for your vision and protect you from further complications of retinal detachment.

Prevention of Detached Retina & Its Complications

  • Get Regular Eye Exams

Early diagnosis is the best way to treat retinal detachment and prevent its complications. So make sure to set regular appointments with your eye care provider and get your eye examined for conditions like retinal detachment.

  • Protect Your Eyes

Always protect your eyes when engaging in activities that may potentially harm your eyes. Invest in safety goggles for sports or other risky activities.

  • Seek Help From Professionals

Consult your eye care provider when you notice any symptoms or discomfort. Stay away from self-treatment, as this can lead to more damage or prevent early diagnosis of your condition.

  • Build a Good Lifestyle

Try to maintain a balanced diet along with exercise and remember to take regular breaks from screen time. If you have been diagnosed with any chronic conditions, make sure you stick to your treatment regimen.

Treatment For Detached Retina

Treatment for retinal detachment is aimed at reattaching the retina to its supporting tissues and it mostly involves surgical procedures. The main treatments for detached retina are:

  • Pneumatic Retinopexy

During this procedure, a gas bubble is injected into the vitreous area of the eye. This gas bubble is then used to push the retina to its place. The surgery also involves laser or cryotherapy to seal the tear. 

  • Scleral Buckling

In this surgical procedure, a sponge of silicon band is sewn over the area of retinal detachment. The band is placed on the outer surface of the eye or sclera, so the detached retina and the sclera will be close together facilitating reattachment. 

  • Vitrectomy

In this procedure, the surgeon will either drain out the vitreous fluid or use any other way to reduce the traction between the retina and its supporting tissue. 

Best Retina Care Hospital

Nethradhama is your best choice when it comes to eye care. Our vision is to bring you the best technologies, treatment and expert help. If you suspect a detached retina in yourself or your loved ones, visit expert retina consultants at Nethradhama. Your vision is safe in our hands.

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