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Retinal Detachment

 

  • When the retina is lifted or pulled from its normal position, it can detach. If not promptly treated, it can cause permanent vision loss.
  • Symptoms include a sudden or gradual increase in floaters (little “cobwebs” or specks that float about in your field of vision) or light flashes in the eye.
  • Pneumatic retinopexy is an effective surgery for certain types of retinal detachments and can be performed in the office. Other procedures, like scleral buckling and vitrectomy, require an operating room.

What is a retinal detachment?

The retina is a series of light-sensitive cells lining the back of the eye. Like camera film, it reacts to the incoming light and sends a record of it to the brain via the optic nerve. When the retina detaches, it is lifted or pulled from its normal position. If not promptly treated, it can cause permanent vision loss.

A retinal detachment can occur at any age, but it is more common in people over age 40 and more likely to occur in men than women.  Retinal detachments are also more likely to occur in people who are extremely nearsighted, have a family history of retinal detachment, or have suffered an eye injury.  Symptoms include a sudden or gradual increase in floaters (little “cobwebs” or specks that float about in your field of vision) or light flashes in the eye.

How We Treat It

Pneumatic retinopexy is an effective surgery for certain types of retinal detachments and can be performed in the office. Dr. Lazarus injects a gas bubble into the middle of the eyeball, positioning the patient overnight so that the gas bubble floats to the detached area and presses lightly against the detachment. Within a couple of days, a laser beam will be used to seal the tear in the retina. The bubble remains for about 1 to 3 weeks to help flatten the retina, until a seal forms between the retina and the wall of the eye, and is naturally absorbed.

Other procedures, like scleral buckling and vitrectomy, require an operating room.  Scleral buckling is a procedure where a belt is placed around the eye to compress the eyeball and the area that is torn. Vitrectomy is the surgical removal of the vitreous gel from the eye. After vitreous gel is removed, the retina is flattened, and treated with a laser. Similar to pneumatic retinopexy, a bubble is injected into the eye to lightly press the retina against the wall of the eye.

VIDEOS

Want to learn more about our retinal specialist Dr. Howard Lazarus, or John-Kenyon Retina Center’s evaluation and treatment options for AMD, Diabetic Retinopathy, and retinal detachments? Check out our video center.

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Thank you for choosing to see the difference at John-Kenyon! To help improve your patient experience, our patient forms are available for you to print, review, and fill out before your appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

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