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Retinal Detachment

The retina is the light sensitive tissue in the back of the eye that lines the back wall of the eye like wallpaper on a wall. Underneath the retina is a pigment layer that is necessary to keep the retina healthy. Any separation between the retina and the pigment layer is a retinal detachment.

If the retina is not directly touching the pigment layer, vision is decreased. If the entire retina comes off the back wall of the eye, the eye could go permanently blind.

There are three basic types of detachments that occur. The first is called exudative retinal detachment in which fluid accumulates between the retina and the pigment layer as in a condition called central serous chorioretinopathy. Sometime medical and or laser treatments are used.

The second type is called tractional retinal detachment and results from scar tissue actually pulling the retina off the back wall of the eye. This scar tissue can come from such problems as injury or severe diabetic eye disease. If the detachment involves the very center of vision, where our best vision is, then an operation in an operating room might be needed.

The third type is called rhegmatogenous or a detachment that results from a break or tear in the retina. If there is a break or tear in the retina, fluid from inside of the eye can get behind the retina and peel it off the back wall of the eye, like a blister of water behind wallpaper. If there is a tear without much actual detachment then a laser treatment might be needed. However, if the retina is extensively detached then a procedure in the office called a pneumatic retinopexy or a surgery in an operating room might be necessary.

The surgery could include a scleral buckle or a vitrectomy or both.

The major signs that you may be having a tear in the retina or a retina detachment include: flashing lights, a shower of floaters, or a curtain over your vision. Should you develop any of these symptoms, you should seek eye care immediately.

For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact us at 315 464-5252.