Lichfield Street Opticians in Wolverhampton

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Retinal Detachment

Retinal Detachment seen through pupil - large

A retinal detachment usually occurs due to the development of a hole in the retina, causing the layers of the retina to become separated from either each other or from the inside wall of the eye. The retina is akin to the film inside a camera, in that the light passes through the lens of the eye just as it would in a camera, and falls upon the retina where it is processed into a usable image. The retina has two layers; the sensory retina that reacts to the light, and the retinal pigment epithelium. If these two layers become separated then the eye can no longer process the light that enters it. This leads to vision loss in at least the affected area, but one may suffer severe vision loss or even total blindness.

Retinal detachment can develop fast and suddenly. Symptoms can include spots before the eyes (‘floaters’), and flashing lights appearing in the vision. These symptoms do not necessarily mean a retinal detachment has occurred, as they could be caused by other conditions. However, if you experience these and they persist for longer than a few minutes, you should contact your optometrist immediately. If a ‘shadow’ or ‘curtain’ falls over the eye, along with progressive loss of vision that does not go away, then it is most likely a retinal detachment.

The first part of your vision affected is usually your peripheral vision, as the detachment most often begins at the sides of the eye. As the condition spreads, the loss of vision will also spread. Eventually the entire retina is detached and a total loss of vision is experienced. This may be very quick, sometimes within a matter of hours. Surgery is then required to reattach the retina to prevent any permanent vision loss.

If caught early enough (within 24-48 hours of the initial retinal tear appearing), a simple laser surgical treatment is all that is required. If the retinal detachment is allowed to spread before surgery, then more difficult techniques may be required that not only will need longer recuperation times, but the chances of permanent loss of vision increases. It therefore cannot be overstated the importance of seeking help the moment the symptoms appear.

retinal detachment normal vision retinal detachment

retinal detachment affected vision


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