Everything You Need to Know About a Detached Retina

· May 2, 2017
Even though aging can be the cause of a detached retina, you can prevent it if you take care of your eyes and have regular examinations. Learn more in this article.

A detached retina is a serious condition that should be treated as soon as possible to avoid possible irreversible vision problems.

It occurs when the external layer of the retina detaches from the back part of the retina.

If this situation occurs, it’s important to see an ophthalmologist immediately to have it checked out. The doctor can diagnose the condition, and recommend any possible treatment.

Causes of a detached retina

Now that we have an idea of what a detached retina is, let’s take a closer look.

Pay attention to the root cause of this condition and see how you can prevent this from happening to you.

1. Illnesses and family history

A selection of eye equipment.

There are several internal factors that can trigger this condition. The most common factor has to do with family history.

In the case of you and your closest family members having any of the following illnesses, you should see an ophthalmologist:

  • diabetes
  • myopia
  • arteriosclerosis

These conditions do not necessarily directly lead to a detached retina, but they are often related.

Also see:  5 unexpected consequences of diabetes

2. Trauma

We know that eye injuries are never a good thing, but we aren’t always aware of what these injuries can lead to in the future.

There are more documented cases of detached retinas due to blows to the eye or carelessness than as a result of an illness.

An internal hemorrhage can create enough pressure behind the eye to cause a leak, leading to a detached retina.

The same thing happens when there is a tumor located in that area of the eye, though this is very rare.

How to detect a detached retina

A lady's eyes.

The most effective way to detect this condition is by having an eye examination with an ophthalmologist.

  • These types of examinations are typically carried out every 1 or 2 years for people who don’t have any known eye problems.
  • In the case of those with vision problems, the doctor will let you know how often you should return for checkups.

Nevertheless, learn to recognize the signs that you should go get an eye exam immediately.

You may not have all of the symptoms, but if you have some of them you should see an ophthalmologist that you trust.

  • Black spots: It’s normal that, with age, you’ll begin to see some floaters, but anything out of the ordinary warrants seeing your doctor.

These are caused by small craters in our retinas that we all have, but it’s a cause for concern if these spots suddenly increase exponentially. 

  • Flashes of light: these are caused by the fluid in the eyes. People see flashes of light in the corners of their eyes continually and intermittently.
  • Dark shadows: If your retina is damaged you won’t be able to see well. If this happens, you will have a solid dark mass obscuring your vision.
  • Blurry vision: If you have difficulties with your vision and items close up and far away are out of focus.

 How do you prevent a detached retina?

A person with detached retina resting.

In contrast to other eye problems, there aren’t any preventative measures for a detached retina other than personal care.

Knowledge is the best means of prevention. If you have some of the symptoms or risk factors mentioned, it’s best to see a doctor about them.

One thing you can do is to avoid blows to the head or near the eyes.

Use protective eye equipment when you are doing gardening, sports, construction work, or any other type of activity where your eyes could be harmed.

See also: 6 Tips to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Possible treatments

Nowadays there are two types of treatment to repair a detached retina. Both are outpatient surgeries that require general or local anesthesia, and are low-risk.

One way is with laser. This treatment locates the fissures and burns them with the help of a laser. This cauterization forms a seal on your retina.

The second method is cryopexy. This is similar to the first method, but it freezes the leaks closed.

Even though these sound very invasive, neither of them present any risk to the vision. These operations only affect very small areas.

Once these procedures are done, the vision is improved drastically and total recuperation occurs in 6 months.

The only possibility of failure of one of these operations is when a diagnosis is too late or if the person has had one of these procedures previously.

This is why it is of the utmost importance to have regular eye exams. We know that caring for your body can be time consuming and expensive.

Skimping on this, however, can put your quality of life at a great risk. This is particularly true when it comes to your eyes. Your eyes play a vital part in every aspect of your life, and they need to be looked after well.

  • Lecleire-Collet, A., Muraine, M., Menard, J. F., & Brasseur, G. (2005). Predictive visual outcome after macula-off retinal detachment surgery using optical coherence tomography. Retina. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006982-200501000-00006
  • Campochiaro, P. A., Gaskin, H. C., & Vinores, S. A. (1987). Retinal Cryopexy Stimulates Traction Retinal Detachment Formation in the Presence of an Ocular Wound. Archives of Ophthalmology. https://doi.org/10.1001/archopht.1987.01060110113043