The retina is that part of the eye that not only serves as a light sensitive wallpaper but also sends visual messages to the brain. When a layer of the retina is either lifted or moves from its position inside the eye, the condition is known as retinal detachment. This condition is considered to be a medical emergency; therefore, it must be corrected and treated right away to prevent permanent loss of vision.
Causes of Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment can be caused by a number of factors. They include the following:
- Tears on the retina also referred to as retinal breaks or retinal tears
- Injuries to the eye
- An eye disorder that is inflammatory
- Advanced diabetes
- Contraction or shrinkage of vitreous, the gel like substance that fills the eye, causing tugging on the retina
Signs and Symptoms of Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment is a serious condition that must be treated as soon as it is detected. In most cases, it occurs after a posterior vitreous detachment. However, not all posterior vitreous detachments result in retinal detachment. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms that characterize this condition:
- The presence of a curtain/veil that causes the loss of the field of vision. This barrier may come from any direction.
- Flashes of light also known as photopsia – Retinal detachment patients experience sudden flashes of light that are uncomfortable. These flashes are very brief and are felt within the extreme peripheral part of vision.
- An increase in floaters – These are specks or cobweb like substances that float on the eye’s field of vision. The increase may be sudden or gradual depending on the severity of the retinal detachment.
- The presence of a ring of floaters on the skull (temporal) side of the central vision.
- A mild feeling of heaviness in the eye
- The presence of a dense shadow in the outer vision that progresses to the central vision over time.
- Appearance of curves in otherwise straight lines. This is also referred to as a positive Amsler test.
- Central vision loss.
When you experience any of these symptoms especially floaters and the sudden flashes of light, consider consulting a doctor immediately.
Retinal Detachment Risk Factors
Retinal detachment can be alleviated when warning signs are detected early and treatment is sought. This means, there is a great need to ensure that many people are educated about the signs so that they may seek treatment if by chance they experience any of the symptoms discussed above.
There are several risk factors associated with retinal detachment. Some of these include cataract surgery, retinal tears, myopia, family history, trauma and complications relating to cataract surgery.
- Trauma: This is particularly common among those who are engaged in high speed or high impact sports. Thus, is it recommended that such activities like skydiving or diving be avoided altogether.
- Myopia: People who have high levels of myopia are advised to stay clear of activities that have the potential of producing trauma, which thereby increases pressure in the eye. Such activities include bungee jumping, rapid deceleration or acceleration or roller coaster rides.
- Family history:Retinal detachment may also be a result of your genetic composition where certain factors promote the photo receptor degeneration or local inflammation of the retina resulting in this condition.
Some diseases also predispose the eyes to the development of this condition. They include lattice degeneration of the retina, the use of certain eye drops and the presence of chronic inflammation of the eye, which is referred to as uveitis. In conclusion, retinal detachment is a serious medical condition that must be detected and treated early to avoid potential loss of vision.
Get in touch with InSight Vision Center if you see any symptoms of low vision.