What is the retina?
The retina is a thin, light-sensitive tissue that lines the inside of the back of our eyes. When we view an object, light is focused on the retina after passing through the cornea, pupil and lens. Thereafter the light image is focused on the retina by impulses that travel through the optic nerve to our brain.
A healthy retina is vital for clear vision.
The “middle” gel like-consistency is called the vitreous and is attached to the retina. When we grow older the vitreous may shrink and pull on the retina. If this occurs you may note flashes of light or lightning streaks, we refer to these as flashes.
What are Retinal Detachments?
A retinal detachment is a condition that occurs when the retina separates from its underlying tissue within the eye. This can occur when the vitreous moves away from the retina and pulls on it to cause a tear, thereafter fluid may pass through the retina which further lifts the retina off the eye.
Retinal detachments are very serious and can cause blindness if not treated correctly and promptly.
- Blunt trauma
- A family history of retinal detachments
- Diabetes that has various complications can lead to a type of retinal detachment
Risks involved with an increased chance of retinal detachment is as follows:
- Near-sightedness (myopia)
- Previous ocular surgery
- Severe ocular injuries
- Previous retinal detachment in the other eye
- Family history of retinal detachments
- “Weak” areas in the retina identified by the ophthalmologist
- Sudden increase in the size and number of floaters
- Sudden appearance of flashes
- A curtain-like area of decreased vision
- Sudden decrease in vision
Retinal tears or detachments are mostly done through surgery. The surgery aims to seal the retina to the back wall of the eye. These procedures create a scar that helps seal the retina, furthermore it prevents fluid from travelling through the tear and under the retina.
Complications of surgery
Common symptoms after the surgery include discomfort, redness, swelling, itchy and teary eyes. These symptoms may persist after the operation for some time and are often treatable with eyedrops.
Other possible complications include elevated pressure in the eye, vitreous bleeding, cataract formation or drooping of the eyelids.