Health Care

Causes and treatment strategies for retinal detachment 

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Part of the eye that converts the light signal into electrical signal, is the retina. It forms the deepest layer of the eye and plays a crucial role in sight. When this light-sensitive layer pulls away from the back of the eye, retinal detachment occurs. Retinal detachment is a medical emergency for which immediate help from an expert like Best Eye specialist in Lahore should be sought. Read on to know more about the causes and the treatment strategies for retinal detachment:

What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?

Detached retina can be secondary to diabetes, high myopia, trauma like a sudden blow to the eye, and a consequence of complicated cataract surgery. People with detached retina may experience: sudden photopsia or flashes of light in the periphery of their vision. Usually a part of the retina is detached first, followed by complete detachment. The patient describes it frequently as a shadow that appears in the corner of the eye, and gradually spreads to the center of the visual field. Alternatively, the patient can describe it as a transparent curtain falling on the center of the vision.

How is detached retina diagnosed?

Eye specialists use a special machine called a slit-lamp to examine the eye. They dilate the pupil of the eye to have a clear vision to the retina and after dilation a special lens is used with the slit lamp to examine the retina for any changes. A detached retina shows up on the slit-lamp exam.

What are the treatment options for detached retina?

Treatment of detached retina is a medical emergency as mentioned before. Surgery is needed for the repair of the retina. Some types of retinal surgeries include:

Pneumatic retinopexy

As the name implies, this type of surgery involves air bubbles to push the retina into its place. As the retina is ‘fixed’ into its proper position, the patient is directed to keep their head in a very specific position, at least for a few days. The bubble is kept in place during this time and is soon replaced by physiological fluid in the eye. This is the treatment of choice in uncomplicated retinal detachment. Two types of bubbles are used for retinopexy—air and oil. If the air bubble is used, the patient is advised against flying for a few days. For the latter, flying is permitted.

Cryotherapy

This technique involves the application of extreme cold to remove the dead tissue. Consequently, a delicate scar tissue is produced that pulls the retina onto the wall of the eye.

Photocoagulation or Laser surgery

This technique uses a principle similar to cryotherapy. A laser beam, directed into the eye through an ophthalmoscope, is used to burn the area around the retinal tissue to form a delicate scar. Like cryopexy, this scar pulls the retina back onto its normal position.

Scleral buckle

A very thin band of soft plastic or rubber is sewn to the outer area of the eyeball—known as the sclera, which gently pushes the eye in. The scleral buckle is sewn onto the site of retinal detachment. When the eye is pushed in, the retina is pushed against the eye wall, and heals in this place. Often, the scleral buckle is left in place.

Vitrectomy

This procedure involves the removal of the jelly-like vitreous humor from the eye, and this gel-like fluid is replaced by a gas or silicone oil bubble to hold the retina into place. 2 to 8 months after the procedure this bubble is removed.

Statistics from The National Eye Institute estimate a 90 percent success rate of treatment for retinal detachment. Even though monitoring by ophthalmologists and Best Eye specialist in Karachi is needed, the patients’ vision returns successfully a few weeks after treatment.