Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is lifted or pulled from the wall of the eye. If not treated immediately, a retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of a retinal detachment should call the office immediately.

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Symptoms of retinal detachment

  • The appearance of a curtain over the field of vision.
  • Seeing lght flashes
  • Wavy or watery vision
  • A sudden decrease in vision
  • A sudden increase in the number of floaters in the field of vision

Who is most at risk for retinal detachment?

  • Those who are very nearsighted
  • The elderly
  • People with a family history of retinal detachment
  • Those who have had cataract surgery
  • Patients with diabetes or other eye disorders

Treatment for retinal detachment

Retinal detachments are treated with surgery that may require a hospital stay. In some cases, a scleral buckle, a tiny synthetic band, is attached to the outside of the eyeball to gently push the wall of the eye against the detached retina. If necessary, a vitrectomy may also be performed. Vitrectomy is a procedure in which the vitreous humor is removed and replaced with a gas that pushes the retina back onto the wall of the eye. Over time the eye produces fluid that replaces the gas. In both of these procedures either a laser or a cryopexy (a freezing device) is used to “weld” the retina back in place.