What is Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment is an eye disease caused by the release of a thin layer inside the eye called the retina. This condition is classified as an emergency and can cause permanent blindness if not treated immediately.
The retina of the eye is an important part that processes the light captured by the eye. Once captured, the light is converted into electrical signals and transmitted to the brain. These signals are then processed in the brain and interpreted as the image seen by the eye.
If the retina is detached from its position, of course vision will be impaired. This visual disturbance can occur partially or completely, depending on how much part of the retina is detached. Retinal detachment can happen to anyone, especially people aged 50 years and over.
Retinal Detachment Symptoms
Retinal detachment or retinal detachment is painless. Loss of vision can occur suddenly, or be preceded by the following symptoms:
- Black patches appear that appear to float in the vision (floaters).
- Vision is blurred or covered by a shadow like a curtain.
- The field of view has narrowed.
- Flashes of light on vision (photopsia).
Causes of Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment occurs when the retina of the eye is detached from the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients. The following are 3 conditions that can cause the retina to detach:
- There is a small tear in the retina. This tear causes fluid in the center of the eyeball (vitreous) to seep in and build up behind the retina. This buildup of fluid will cause the entire retina to detach from its base. In general, a tear in the retina of the eye occurs as a result of changing tissue with age. People with minus eyes (nearsightedness) or have had cataract surgery are also at risk of experiencing a tear in the retina.
- Accumulated vitreous without a tear in the retina. This condition can be caused by injury, tumors, inflammation, and macular degeneration disease.
- Scar tissue forms on the surface of the retina. This condition makes the retina retract and detach. This condition is more common in diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar.
Risk Factors for Retinal Detachment
There are a number of factors that increase a person’s risk of developing a retinal detachment, including:
- Over 50 years of age.
- Have had a retinal detachment before.
- Have a family member with the same disease.
- Have had a serious eye injury.
- Suffering from severe nearsightedness (myopia).
- Have had surgery on the eye, such as cataract surgery.
- Have had eye diseases, such as inflammation of the middle layer of the eye (uveitis).
Diagnosis of Retinal Detachment
To determine the diagnosis of retinal detachment, an ophthalmologist or vitreo-retinal ophthalmologist will perform an ophthalmoscopy examination with a special tool to see the inside of the eye. If the ophthalmoscopy cannot clearly observe the condition of the retina, for example due to bleeding in the eye, the doctor will perform an eye ultrasound.
Retinal Detachment Treatment
The treatment for retinal detachment varies depending on the patient’s condition. If the retina is torn or perforated but it hasn’t come off yet, the ophthalmologist can use the following steps to improve vision and prevent the retina from detaching:
- Cryopection. This procedure is done by freezing the tear in the retina, so that the retina remains attached to the eye wall.
- Laser therapy (photocoagulation). The laser beam will burn the tissue around the retinal tear. The laser will also help the retina stay attached.
If the retina is detached, the doctor will treat it with surgery or surgery. The type of surgery performed depends on the severity of the patient’s condition. These operations include:
Pneumatic retinopexy. This procedure is performed by injecting gas bubbles into the eye, which will push the retina back into its normal position. This procedure is chosen when only a small portion of the retina is detached.
Vitrectomy. In a vitrectomy, the doctor will remove the vitreous and tissue that is pulling the retina. Then, gas or silicone bubbles are injected into the eye to hold the retina in position. Over time, gas bubbles will be replaced naturally by body fluids.
Scleral buckling. In this procedure, the doctor will place silicone from the outside of the white part of the eye (sclera). This silicon will bring the wall of the eyeball closer to the retina, so that the retina returns to its position. If the retinal detachment is severe, silicone is permanently placed around the eye. Even so, silicon will not obstruct vision.
Retinal Detachment Prevention
Retinal detachment is not always preventable. However, the risk of retinal detachment can be reduced through the following steps:
- See an ophthalmologist immediately if there are floaters, flashes of light, or any changes in the visual field.
- Routine eye check at least once every year. Checkups should be done more frequently if you have diabetes.
- Routinely control sugar levels and blood pressure, so that the condition of the retinal blood vessels remains healthy.
- Use eye protection when exercising or when doing activities that risk injuring your eyes.