Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition that occurs when the retina separates from the wall of the eye. The retina is a light sensitive structure at the back of the eye that receives the images we see. Retinal detachment is an emergency. Delay or failure to treat a retinal detachment will lead to permanent loss of vision.
Retinal detachments often follow a retinal tear. The retinal tear acts as an opening allowing fluid to go behind the retina, causing the retina to separate from the wall of the eye.
Retinal detachment can occur due to several factors, including age-related changes, trauma, near-sightedness, previous eye surgery or underlying eye conditions. Common symptoms of retinal detachment include the sudden onset of floaters (tiny specks or cobweb-like shapes in your vision), flashes of light, and a “curtain” like shadow blocking part of the vision or general blurring of vision
During the examination, your eye care professional will dilate your pupils for a better view of the
retina. They may use specialised imaging techniques, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) or
ultrasound to evaluate the retinal detachment.
Treatment for retinal detachment usually involves surgery. The type of procedure would depend on the characteristics and severity of the detachment. There are three main surgical techniques used:
The vitreous gel is removed using small instruments followed by flattening of the retina and laser therapy to seal the retina breaks. This is often combined with the introduction of a gas or silicone oil to hold the retina in place for a few weeks to months to improve the success of the surgery. Posturing may be required for a few weeks after the surgery.
This involves the placement of a supportive device (scleral buckle) to the external wall of the eye to encourage the reattachment of the retina. Laser and/or cryotherapy treatment is applied to the retinal tear to seal the break.
This procedure involves inserting a gas bubble into the eye to push the detached retina against the back wall of the eye. Laser or cryotherapy is then used to seal the retinal tear or hole. Dedicated posturing after the procedure is required to achieve success.
After retinal detachment surgery, it is important to follow the post-operative care instructions
given by your surgeon. This may include using prescribed eye drops, wearing an eye shield or
patch, avoiding strenuous activities or heavy lifting, and attending follow-up appointments to
monitor and assess your healing progress.
Recovery after retinal detachment surgery varies for each individual. Visual improvement can happen gradually over time. It is essential to be patient and follow the recommended follow-up schedule for ideal results.
Timely intervention is required to treat retinal detachment as it is a serious condition. Therefore, if you experience any symptoms or have concerns about your vision, seek immediate evaluation from an eye care professional to ensure prompt diagnosis and suitable treatment.