Only around 28,000 Americans experience a retinal tear every year. To put it in perspective, that's only 0.01% of the population. It's a low risk, but a retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss, so it's critical to know the risk factors, warning signs, and treatment options.
Our ophthalmologists here at Retina Specialists have decades of experience diagnosing and treating retinal health issues, including retinal detachments. Today, we share our knowledge, so you know the warning signs of a retinal detachment as well as your treatment options.
Signs of a retinal detachment
If your retina pulls away from the back of your eye, it causes visual disturbances including:
- A cascade of floaters
- Flashes of light in one or both eyes
- A dark shadow in the middle or on the sides of your vision
It's possible that a small piece of the retina can detach and not cause any symptoms. However, a small retinal tear can become progressively more severe and should still be treated.
Retinal detachment treatment options
We offer several treatments for retinal detachments. Following your exam and diagnosis, we may recommend:
During laser therapy, we numb your eyes and place a guard over your eye to keep the lid open during the procedure. Then, we use a precise medical laser to repair your retina and secure it to the back of your eye. We provide medicated eye drops to reduce swelling and your risk of infection.
If your retinal tear is more severe, our ophthalmologists offer a variety of surgical procedures to repair your retina.
Your ophthalmologist puts a gas bubble inside your eye during a pneumatic retinopexy. The gas bubble pushes your retina back into place and holds it against the back of your eye while it heals and reconnects. As you heal, your eye makes vitreous fluid (the gel that feels your eyes), which eventually replaces the gas bubble.
During a vitrectomy, your ophthalmologist removes the vitreous fluid in your eye then replaces it with an air or gas bubble. As with pneumatic retinopexy, the bubble pushes your retina into place and holds it there until you heal.
A scleral buckle is a small piece of rubber or plastic that your ophthalmologist attaches to the outside of your eye. The buckle gently presses your eye inward, which helps hold your retina against the back of your eye. You can't see or feel the scleral buckle once it's in place.
Retinal detachment risk factors
Your risk of a retinal detachment is higher if you have a family history of the condition, a prior eye injury, or eye surgery.
Other issues that can increase your risk of a detached retina include:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Extreme myopia
- Vitreous detachment
- Other retina problems
If you have any risk factors for retinal detachment, make sure to schedule annual comprehensive eye exams so we can keep an eye on your eye health. If you have any signs of a retinal detachment, call our office immediately for personalized help and instructions.
If you need expert eye care, call one of our offices today. We're located in DeSoto, Plano, Mesquite, Dallas, and Waxahachie, Texas.