A Guide to Retinal Detachment, by a Newport Beach Retina Doctor
If you are experiencing symptoms of a retinal detachment, seek medical care immediately.
A detached retina is considered to be a medical emergency and occurs when the nerve tissues and blood supply underneath the retina separate. This eye condition is painless, but presents noticeable symptoms including a dark curtain moving down or across the field of vision. A Newport Beach Retina Doctor can treat this condition as long as it is diagnosed within a certain period of time. Generally, as soon as the symptoms present themselves, the patient has between 24 and 48 hours to begin treatment. Without doing so it is possible to incur permanent vision loss or blindness.
The Cause of Retinal Detachment
The retina attaches to a clear gel-like substance in the middle of the eye known as the vitreous. With age, the vitreous can shrink and in the process become partially detached from the retina. The resulting tugging movement of the nerve cells around the retina can cause eye flashes. Very often these flashes do not lead to any issues, but in certain instances, the movement can be enough to tear the retina. That in turn can allow fluid of the eye to enter. Once the fluid begins to leak it pushes the retina away from the tissue and causes a separation and then a detachment. A detached retina can also result from conditions like severe nearsightedness, diabetic eye disease, or blunt trauma.
Those More Prone to a Detached Retina
Anyone can experience a detached retina, but it is more common in people over 40 years of age. Men are more affected than women, and caucasians over African Americans or Asians. This condition is also more common in people who:
- Have had a retinal detachment previously.
- Have a family history of the condition.
- Have undergone surgery for cataracts.
- Are very nearsighted.
- Have had eye conditions like retinoschisis, degenerative myopia, or lattice degeneration.
- Have injured the eye.
Three Types of Retinal Detachment
- Rhegmatogenous – This is the most common type and occurs when a break or tear in the retina allows fluid to get underneath, leading to a separation.
- Tractional—Scar tissue on the surface of the retina contracts and causes a separation.
- Exudative— Usually caused by diseases or inflammatory disorders of the reina. In this type, fluid is leaked underneath the retina, but there are no tears.
Symptoms of a Detached Retina
A retina specialist will be able to perform various tests to diagnose a detached retina. If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, you should call 949-793-7181 immediately:
- Floaters around the field of vision, that increase in number and size.
- Flashing “lights.”
- Floaters with flashes.
- Shadows in front or to the side of your vision.
- A dark or grey-like curtain over some or all of your vision.
- A rapid loss of vision.
Treatment for a retinal detachment is possible as long as the condition is detected early on. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, swift medical attention is vital. Treatment often includes a surgical procedure and medication.
To speak with a retina specialist today, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our eye doctors, please call Retina Associates of Orange County at 949-793-7181.