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Patient’s Guide To Retinal Detachment

Have you ever heard of retinal detachment? It is a medical condition where the retina detaches from its normal position. In most cases, this can be fixed with minor surgery if caught right away. In this blog, we will be diving into answering the questions:

  • What retinal detachment?
  • How does retinal detachment affect eyes?
  • How to prevent retinal detachment? 

If you experience unusual visual symptoms such as:

  • Noticing dark spots 
  • Shadows in the outskirts of your field of vision

Or if you suspect retinal detachment, contact your Calgary emergency eye doctor right away.

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Retinal Detachment Is Uncommon But Serious 

If you have been diagnosed with a retinal detachment, or if you’re concerned about symptoms like flashes of light or floating dark spots in your vision, it is normal to feel a little uneasy, anxious, or scared. You also may be unsure about what retinal detachment is and how you should move forward from this diagnosis. 

A retinal detachment is when the sensory bundles of tissue at the back of the eye, known as the retina, pull away from their normal position and, the eye cannot properly process incoming light. If this is not treated quickly, permanent vision loss can result. Chances of recovery are optimistic if the symptoms are caught early so treatment and recovery can begin shortly thereafter.

Our eye care staff at Blink Eyewear are available to diagnose and provide treatments for retinal detachment. Contact your Calgary eye doctor as soon as you notice any unusual symptoms. 

What Is The Retina And Why Is It Important?  

A retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye that helps you see, but it's a lot more than just that. It helps process images so we can understand them. 

The retina also plays a central role in allowing day and night vision. The retina enables sight by converting wavelengths of visible light into electrical impulses. These signals are then sent through the optic nerve to a part of the brain called the visual cortex for image perception. 

The retina is central in your sense of vision, and any retinal detachment can lead to several potentially serious complications, including vision loss, if not treated right away. 

Three Types Of Retinal Detachment

There are at least three main variations of retinal detachment including: 

  • Exudative: When there are no rips or breaks in the retina, but when sufficient fluid gets trapped in the retinal area, it increases acute hypertension and results in the displacement of the retina.
     
  • Tractional: Usually occurs as a result of diabeteic retinopathy. This is where the increased blood sugar can restrict the nourishment of the blood vessels around the retina leading to a constant pulling force on the retina that detaches it. 
     
  • Rhegmatogenous: This is the most commonly occurring type of retinal detachment and occurs when there is a small rip or split in the retina. Vitreous fluid from the eye can leak through this small entry, overfill the surrounding area and dislodge the retina.

How To Prevent Retinal Detachment? 

Unfortunately, the causes and onset of retinal detachment have almost no recognizable warning signs. However, there are some known behavioural risks and occupational hazards that can increase the likelihood of experiencing a retinal detachment. 

The best form of prevention is protection. While at work, ensure that personal protective equipment, like safety goggles and hardhats, are worn as often as applicable. This is especially true while working on any activity that causes debris to spread rapidly into the surrounding air, for example, cutting wood on a table saw or painting a wall where the paint can fall into your eye. 

Some of the other known risk factors that could increase the chances of retinal detachment are: 

  • Age: Patients 50+ years old are at higher risk of developing this disease.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: Elevated blood sugar levels can cause a blockage of blood vessels that replenish the retina. After prolonged blockage, the body can replace these vessels but they may not develop as properly as the original set, and the malfunctioning of these vessels can lead to retinal detachment.
  • Extreme nearsightedness: Especially in severe myopia cases like degenerative myopia.
  • Eye surgery (such as cataract removal)
  • Eye disease or inflammation
  • Eye or face injury
  • Family history

For an extended list of all the risk factors that optometrists look for when diagnosing retinal detachment, learn more on our retinal detachment treatment page.

What Treatments Are Available For Retinal Detachment? 

For most cases of retinal detachment, patients may need the assistance of a retinal surgeon for treatment.

If an optometrist suspects your retina has detached, or if you experience any of the signs and symptoms mentioned, then you may be referred to an Ophthalmologist for surgical treatment to correct the detachment of your retina with the primary objectives being to reattach the retina and to prevent any prolonged vision loss.  

Experiencing An Eye Emergency? Get It Checked

If you think that your retina is detached, or for any other eye emergency, please contact Blink Eyewear immediately. 

Retinal detachment is a condition that can occur when the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye, is damaged or misplaced. It can cause problems with visual perception, resulting in reduced sensory function in the affected eye(s). 
Visit Blink Eyewear to learn more about what retinal detachment is, its causes, and treatment options.

With three eye clinics to serve you better in Calgary, call at 1-403-516-2292, or book online, and visit Blink Eyewear’s Crowfoot, Creekside, or West Springs location for thorough eye exams, contact lenses, the latest in frames, advanced dry eye care, and for any eye emergency consultations.

FAQs

Q: What Are The Most Common Causes Of Retinal Detachment?

A: Usually, detachment of the retina occurs as a product of old age or defects arising after ocular surgery. Direct eye trauma or injury can also exasperate retinal detachment, but is less likely given the retina is behind the eye. Certain dietary or medical conditions like diabetetic retinopathy are also known to cause retinal detachment.

Q: How Long Does It Take To Recover From Retinal Detachment?

A: The expected recovery time for retinal detachment depends on the severity of the detachment, the surgical procedure used to correct the condition, and the speed with which treatment began since symptoms arose. 
The National Eye Institute reports that treatment and recovery is successful for 9 out of 10 cases. And some cases may require a secondary follow-up operation.

Q: Do A Lot Of People Experience Retinal Detachment?

A: The Canadian Medical Association Journal (2020), reported: “lifetime risk of retinal detachment is about 0.1%”. This risk increases with age and for patients with myopia (nearsightedness), patients who have undergone prior eye surgeries, or have a known family medical history of retinal detachment. Furthermore, a study published in 2004 from Stanford University School of Medicine reports that “Retinal detachment is relatively uncommon, affecting only one in 10,000 people per year, or approximately one in 300 patients in the course of a lifetime.” A small amount of the population experience retinal detachment overall, and the ones that do have a good chance of recovery if the symptoms are caught early and treatment is started promptly. Visit Calgary’s Blink Eyewear for a thorough eye exam and save your vision.


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