Sudden Blurry Vision? You Might Have Retinal Detachment and Should Seek Treatment Immediately
Your retina is a thin layer of tissue in the back of your eye, and it’s a vital part of your eye. It’s responsible for translating light signals that come into your eye and sending them through your optic nerve to your brain.
In your brain, these light impulses get turned into images. Your retina is responsible for sharp, detailed vision, allowing you to read, drive, and work on your computer.
When your retina becomes damaged, your vision may become impaired. A retinal detachment is when your retina pulls away or becomes detached from your eye structure. This condition is considered a health emergency. If you don’t get treatment in a timely fashion, you may suffer permanent vision loss.
How does the retina become detached?
There are several types of retinal detachment. The most common type is called rhegmatogenous detachment, which is usually caused by aging. The center of your eye is filled with a gel-like substance called the vitreous. As you get older, the vitreous shrinks and sometimes pulls away from the retina.
Often this pulling away is without complications, but sometimes it results in a retinal tear. The vitreous liquid can seep through this tear, creating pressure to further tug on the retina, resulting in a retinal detachment.
When the retina is detached, it stops receiving oxygen and nourishment, which can cause a wide range of symptoms that impair your vision. In the most severe cases, retinal detachment can result in blindness.
Retinal detachment symptoms
In most cases, there is no pain or discomfort with retinal detachment. But since retinal detachment can have severe repercussions if not treated right away, you should know the signs and symptoms. Look out for:
Floaters are tiny specks that float across your line of vision. They look like squiggly short lines or dots. While occasional floaters are not a cause for concern, a sudden increase in the frequency or number of floaters can signal a retinal detachment
Flashes are bright bursts of light. Flashers, too, are a concern if they come on suddenly.
In addition to flashers and floaters, a sudden change in your vision can be a sign of a retinal detachment. If your vision becomes blurry or you see a shadow or curtain descending from the top of your eye across the side, seek medical care immediately.
Retinal detachment risk factors
Anyone can suffer a retinal detachment, but certain factors put you at higher risk than others. Risk factors include:
- Extreme nearsightedness
- A family history of retinal detachment
- Age of 50-plus
- Previous eye surgery
- An eye injury
- A history of diabetes
Treatment options for retinal detachment
It’s essential to reattach the retina as soon as possible to prevent vision impairment or further vision impairment. Treatment options, to be discussed with your eye doctor, include:
Cryotherapy is a simple in-office procedure that uses a freezing technique to prevent further damage to the retina. This procedure is for small retinal tears to prevent them from becoming worse.
This technique uses gas bubbles to put pressure on the retina to return to its regular place.
In a scleral buckle procedure, a band is placed around the eye to drain excess fluid to help the retina return to a normal position.
The vitreous is removed to prevent any pulling, tugging, or tearing of the retina. In place of the vitreous, air, gas, or a silicone oil is injected into the space that the vitreous occupied to help flatten the retina.
To learn more about retinal tears and detachments, call us at University Retina to make an appointment with a board-certified ophthalmologist and retina specialist at one of our four Chicagoland locations. You can also make an appointment online through this website.