primary eye care

Can You Treat Retinal Detachment?

May 19th, 2021

man rubbing his eyes

The retina is one of the essential parts of your eye. It is a thin layer of photosensitive tissue that lines your eye’s interior wall.

Millions of light-sensitive cells called rods and cones cover the retina and detect light as it enters your eye. They send that light to the brain in the form of electric signals via the optic nerve.

The brain receives the signals from the eye and interprets them to create the images you see. Keep reading to learn more about the retina and if you can treat a retinal detachment.

What is a Detached Retina?

Retinal detachment is a common retina issue. It happens when the thin layer of retinal tissue peels or tears off the wall of your eye.

It is a painless experience that can seriously threaten your vision. Without immediate intervention, retinal detachment can cause vision loss.

What Causes Retinal Detachment?

Several different factors can lead to retinal detachment. The most common type of retinal detachment occurs when a small tear or hole forms in the retina, often due to aging.

Aging plays a significant role in retinal detachments. As you age, the gel inside your eyes called the vitreous begins to shrink and contract.

The vitreous and retina are attached. As the vitreous shrinks, it pulls on the retina, which can cause tears. Openings in the retina allow fluids to pool behind it, which pushes it away from the wall of the eye.

As the retina detaches, it loses blood supply, which causes the tissue to stop working. When retinal tissue stops working, you lose vision.

Scar tissue growing on the surface of your retina can also cause a retinal tear. Like the aging vitreous, scar tissue pulls on the retina and creates holes or tears.

People with uncontrolled diabetes are most susceptible to scar tissue in their eyes. High blood sugar can weaken the blood vessels in your eye, causing them to bleed and heal over repeatedly.

Fluid can also pool behind the retina without a hole or tear in it. But this has the same result as a hole in the retina.

The fluid pooling behind the retina can cause it to separate from the wall of the eye. As with a hole in the retina allowing fluid to pool, this can cause your retinal tissue to stop working.

How to Treat Retinal Detachment

Treatment for retinal detachment must be swift. There are a few symptoms that may indicate a detached retina.

If you experience any of the following, seek immediate medical attention:

  • A sudden increase in floaters or squiggly lines in your vision
  • Rapid flashes of light
  • Sudden onset of blurred vision
  • A shadow covering your eyesight like a curtain

Retinal tear treatments include laser surgery or a procedure called cryopexy. Both create scar tissue over the tear to close it.

Retinal detachment requires more complex treatment to save your vision. One is a pneumatic retinopexy. During this procedure, your surgeon injects a gas bubble into your eye to press the retina back into place.

Another treatment for retinal detachment caused by aging is scleral buckling. Your surgeon sutures material on the sclera or white of your eye to push on your sclera. This pressure reduces the tugging on your retina.

Your surgeon may also perform a vitrectomy. A vitrectomy replaces the gel inside your eye with a bubble of air, gas, or silicone.

The bubble presses the detachment against the wall of your eye. It holds your retina in place until it is attached to the wall of your eye again. Body fluids will replace the bubble in your eye over time.

Schedule an appointment at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME, if you think you have a detached retina. Timely treatment can prevent vision loss.

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