How Your Optometrist Treats Retinal Detachment

How Your Optometrist Treats Retinal Detachment

The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the back of the eye. This is the area of the eye that light is concentrated on so that images can be received and then sent to the brain. Retinal detachment is when the retina either fully or partially pulls away from the back of the eye. If the retina detaches, it is separated from the blood vessels and therefore loses blood and oxygen circulation while also no longer sending light signals to the brain, stopping vision. If your retina detaches, it is a serious eye emergency that needs immediate attention from an optometrist. Depending on the extent of the retinal detachment, vision impairment will range from mild or severe and the permanency of vision loss will depend in part on the speed of intervention. If you suffer retinal detachment, these procedures will be used to reattach and save your retina.

Treating A Detached Retina

Attaching The Retina
If the retina has detached, it will require surgery from an ophthalmologist. While there are multiple forms of surgery used to readjust the retina, the actual reattachment will likely use one of these two methods:

  • Photocoagulation is a laser procedure that creates tiny burns near the tear in the retina. These produce small areas of scar tissue that seal off a tear so that fluid does not get under the retina, allowing it to heal.
  • Cryopexy uses cold therapy to reattach the tissue by creating chorioretinal scarring and allowing the retina to reattach with the healthy tissue underneath. 

Repositioning The Retina
No matter which procedure you undergo, you will receive medication for your surgery. This may be medication that helps you relax, it may be localized anaesthetic or numbing eye drops, or it may be general anaesthetic. The methods used to reposition the retina are:

  • Pneumatic retinopexy: This procedure is performed when the retinal detachment is mild and only partial. In this procedure, a gas or oil will be injected into the eye to push the retina back into place while a secondary procedure is performed. After the surgery is complete, the gas will naturally absorb into the eye and if oil was used it will need to be removed post-surgery. 
  • Scleral buckling: During this procedure, an incision is made in the outer layer of the eye, called the sclera. A buckle or sponge (made of soft silicone) is then stitched around this layer. This supports the retina by pushing in or “buckling” the sclera towards the middle of the eye, which relieves the pull on the retina. When this tension is relieved, the retinal tear will settle on the wall of the eye to reattach. To prevent any future detachments, cryopexy or photocoagulation may also be used.
  • Vitrectomy: This surgery will also involve an incision to the sclera but after the incision, the vitreous (the gel-like fluid within the eye) and any scar tissue or foreign material will be removed. The retina can then be returned to its original placement through the use of air, oil, or gel, and the retina can be reattached using photocoagulation or cryopexy. This technique may be combined with scleral buckling.

Emergency Eye Services In Calgary

Ocular emergencies can arise at any time and you shouldn’t try to judge the severity of injury yourself. The impact on your vision from a retinal detachment is dependent on how detached the retina is and how quickly it can be reattached. Seek the opinion of an optometrist to minimize the risk of permanently affecting your vision. If you think you are suffering from retinal detachment, contact Blink Eyewear immediately. Ensure retinal health before an emergency occurs by having regular retinal exams as a part of your regular eye care routine. With three convenient locations in Crowfoot in NW Calgary, West Springs in SW Calgary, and Creekside in NW Calgary, Blink Eyewear can offer you great optometry services throughout the city. To see a Calgary optometrist at Blink Eyewear, call 1-403-516-2292 or fill out the online contact form.

Retinal Detachment FAQs

A retinal exam, also called an ophthalmoscopy or funduscopy, typically involves dilating the pupil so that the optometrist can have a better view of the retina. The optometrist will use a light to see into the eye and examine the retina, as well as use a condensing lens to see the retina in detailed 3D. The optometrist will also use a slit-lamp exam for further evaluation.

Urgent eye care: Often found in convenient, walk-in centres, Urgent Care staff may be able to see you without an appointment or schedule you in on short notice. Urgent care centres treat minor injuries that require short-term medical assistance. If you are experiencing swelling of your eyes or persistent irritation then an urgent eye care centre would be the right choice. 

Emergency eye care: focuses on treating patients with consequential medical emergencies that require priority attention to prevent serious impairment. The difference is in the severity of the injury; emergency care centres treat life-threatening injuries or those that have irreversible repercussions. If you have sudden loss of vision, bleeding, or burning in your eyes, an emergency eye clinic is the right

If your retina detaches, you may experience:

  • A sudden appearance of specks that move through your field of vision called floaters
  • Flashes of light in one or both eyes (photopsia)
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually reduced side (peripheral) vision
  • A curtain-like shadow over your visual field

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Blink Eyewear boasts the largest collection of eyewear in Calgary, but our 4 locations are also home to the region’s finest optometrists. Just as you will not find a better store to shop for your eyewear, you will not find a better vision clinic to do your eye exam or treat your eye condition. 

Go ahead and Blink; what you see is really what you get. Call one of our store numbers or fill out the form below to book an appointment.

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