Retinal detachment is an emergency that requires immediate treatment, but what is retinal detachment? And how is it treated? What types of retinal operations performed?
Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates and splits from the layer of blood vessels that feed it with oxygen and other nutrients, so the inner nine layers split from the outermost nutritive layer. if the condition is neglected for a while, the separated retinal layers become deprived of essential oxygen, become compromised and fibrosed , and therefore an increased risk of permanent vision loss.
What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?
Retinal detachment is a painless condition, but its symptoms appear suddenly and the most prominent of these symptoms are:
- Blurred vision
- Gradually reduced peripheral vision
- Flashes of light in the affected eye are only one second long.
- The patient sees a curtain-like shadow in the visual field of the affected eye
Diagnosis of retinal detachment
Retinal detachment is diagnosed by one of the following ways:
- Retinal examination using an indirect ophthalmoloscope with its powerful light tool that helps the doctor to examine the retina, to determine any holes or tears or signs suggesting retinal detachment
- Ultrasound, this type of diagnosis may be used if there is bleeding that significantly affects retinal examination
Treatment of retinal detachment
This procedure is also known as “air retina fixation- or pneumatic retinopexy” where the skilled ophthalmologist injects an air or gas bubble in the posterior part of the eye that pushes the detached retina towards the wall of the eye, leading to the squeezing of the fluid located in the area behind the retina, the patient will need to keep his head in a certain position for several days until the retina heals completely and the bubble disappears spontaneously after that.
In this process the vitreous gel located in the center of the posterior segment eye is removed, this step helps the doctor to reach the back of the eye for retinal treatment. This procedure is also done in case of vitreous hemorrhage or bleeding, to drain the blood out during surgery the doctor inserts a small instrument into the eye, then the vitreous gel with the hemorrhage is sucked outside. Sometimes after the vitrectomy the doctor uses laser to treat the retina and at the end of that operation the doctor injects the eye with some special materials (oils or gases) that work to restore the eye to normal shape and function.
The doctor usually resorts to this procedure before the stage of retinal detachment is reached i.e. only a tear or a hole . This process is called “photocococogulation”, where the doctor directs the laser into the eye through a dilated pupil, the laser causes burns around the retina, which scar and seal off the tear so that detachments do not occur .
Types of lasers used in the process
- Conventional agon laser, also known as the slit lamp laser, which has been used since the 1960s
- Modern lasers are more accurate and secure
Advantages of laser operations
- The cost of laser operations is relatively affordable
- High levels of safety during the procedure and the most important characteristic of lasers is their high degree of accuracy
- Modern lasers require fewer treatments after the procedure