Retinal Detachments and Tears

Retinal Detachments & Tears

The retina is neural tissue that detects the image and sends the information to the brain so you can interpret and acknowledge the image. Anatomically the retina lines the inside of your eyeball, sort of like wallpaper on a wall. Any disruption to the retinal tissue either by tears, hypoxia, fluid buildup or detachment will result in loss of vision in that particular field. However, it is important to keep in mind that we are predominately using our central 10 degrees to view the world so people with retinal issues may be asymptomatic as long as the retina in the central 20 degrees is intact.

What is the Difference Between a Retinal Detachment and a Retinal Tear?

A tear is a rip in the retina which allows fluid to get under and can result in a retinal detachment. A good way to think about that is how easy it is for wallpaper to continue to ‘detach’ from the wall once there is a tear.

How Can a Retinal Detachment Occur?

Naturally having a hole or a tear makes you more susceptible to have a retinal detachment. Other conditions that lead to unusual blood vessel growth such as diabetic retinopathy and sickle cell anemia can lead to retinal detachments too. Furthermore, intense physical head trauma can result in a retinal detachment.

If I Have a Retinal Tear or Detachment Will it be Obvious To Me?

Retinal detachments and tears can be asymptomatic or symptomatic depending on the size of the tear/detachment and its location. Therefore, you can have tears in your retina and not know it.

However, here are the signs and symptoms of retinal detachments and tears. These include flashes of light, floaters, ‘pepper’ in your vision, thousands of ‘gnats’ in your vision, reduced vision or a curtain or veil over your vision. If you are experiencing any of these, having a dilated exam quickly is crucial to ensure the best visual outcome.

If a Retinal Detachment or Tear is Not Causing a Problem, Should I be Worried?

Yes, asymptomatic retinal tears and detachments can quickly become sight-threatening as they become enlarged. Prompt intervention is needed to ensure more retina does not ‘peel’ off the inside of the eye.

How Can I Determine if I Have a Retinal Detachment or Tear?

The only way is to have a dilated eye exam so the doctor can look inside the eye and specifically examine the peripheral retina using a technique called Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscopy. At Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear, all of our dilated comprehensive exams include an examination of the peripheral retina to look for any asymptomatic retinal tears or holes.

What Can be Done if I Have a Retinal Detachment?

If you do have a tear or detachment in your retina, an ophthalmologist will either perform surgery or a laser procedure to fix the retina back onto the inside of the eye and prevent more damage. With retinal detachments, time is of the essence and often require surgery within 24-48hours to insure the best visual outcome.

What is the Prognosis of a Retinal Detachment?

The prognosis is excellent if the detachment is peripheral (not in the central) and if intervention occurs early. However, if a retinal detachment progresses to the central vision, you are likely to have significant, irreversible vision loss.

Retinal detachments are not common but are ocular emergencies and can result in severe vision loss if not treated early. Therefore, it is important to get an annual dilated eye exam in which the peripheral retina is examined. Furthermore, if you experience any of the symptoms of retinal detachment, go see your eye care provider immediately.

 

If you enjoyed this article about Retinal Detachment, be sure to check our our article on The Aging Eye: Normal vs. Abnormal.

A Little Bit About…

A Little Bit About…

Ashley Iketani-Castillo, OD, MS

Dr. Iketani is a Florida native who has a passion for managing ocular disease. She views each patient as a whole person and believes the eyes are a window to a patient’s systemic health. She also has a passion for fitting rigid lenses on patients with corneal disease to help them obtain their best vision.

Dr. Iketani graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry where she completed internships at the Hefner Veteren’s Affairs hospital in Charlotte, NC and The Metrolina Association for the Blind which focused on Low Vision rehabilitation. Prior to pursuing optometry, she obtained a Masters of Science which focused on developmental genetics and worked as a technician in a lab that researched breast cancer.

Dr. Iketani currently resides in Cincinnati where her husband is starting his pediatrician fellowship,with their two cats and baby boy.

Disclaimer

Information contained within this Web site is intended solely for educational purposes and is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical condition or question. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. By using this Web site, you agree to this Medical Disclaimer.

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205 E Council Street, Suite B
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

Phone: (704) 310-5002
Fax: (704) 310-5003
kristin@salisburyeyecareandeyewear.com

 

 

205 E Council Street, Suite B
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

Phone: (704) 310-5002
Fax: (704) 310-5003
kristin@salisburyeyecareandeyewear.com

 

Hours:
Monday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Hours:
Monday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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