RETINAL DETACHMENT: A VISION DESTABILIZER

Dr. Jim Martin 08/22/2013

eye_surgery.jpgVision research is often conducted using small cross-sections of the population to detect trends in vision wellness. For example, a recent optometric survey of 1,000 people revealed that for nearly half of the participants, 47%, losing sight is their worst fear. It out-ranked Alzheimer’s, dementia, hearing loss, and physical disability. However; the survey also revealed that 30% of participants don’t get regular eye exams or vision evaluations. That means that at least 300 people per 1,000 may not know that a condition like retinal detachment, a serious vision destabilizer, can threaten the sight they hold so dear. 

This general lack of awareness is part of what prompted eye doctors in Amarillo, Texas to take action. They have put together a series of articles which cover eye diseases, conditions, and warning signs so that patients can begin to understand the risks to and importance of their eye health.

Many conditions and maladies can cause serious eye damage, even total vision loss, if they are not prevented, detected, or treated soon enough. To illustrate this point, this article will focus on retinal detachment.

What is Retinal Detachment and What Does it Do?

Your eye is made up of several essential and intricately woven parts. More than likely, when one component breaks down it will cause changes in several other areas of the eye; this is similar to an ocular domino effect. Understanding how detachment affects your retina starts with understanding how a healthy retina works.

The retina acts as your eye’s chemistry lab. It transforms the light it absorbs into electrical impulses that are sent to the optic nerve and transported to the brain. This is all accomplished through a layer of nerves that lines the back of your eye. The function of this nerve layer can be affected by holes, rips, or tears. These flaws are usually the result of other conditions like diabetic retinopathy, trauma, or other maladies.

Anything that changes the ocular pressure or blood flow within the eye can cause defects in the retina. Once these defects are present, the fluid that fills the middle of your eye (vitreous gel) can flow behind your eye. If enough fluid builds up behind your eye, your retina will detach.  Spontaneous detachment is possible; especially after cataract surgery.

Retinal detachment does not hurt. The symptoms can be detected through changes in your vision. These changes typically start out subtle and become worse if the condition is left untreated. Some of the subtle signs to look for are an increase in “floaters.” It’s normal to have occasional floaters, so if they increase or don’t self-correct, it may be a sign of an underlying issue. Patients often complain of flashes of light and blind spots within their field of vision. These blind spots will get larger in size and more frequent as the condition worsens.

How Can You Treat Retinal Detachment?

Eye examinations are your best chance to catch and correct retinal detachment. Several surgeries may be needed to restore your visual function. Over time, your vision will improve and stabilize. Since this condition is particularly common in younger patients (ages 25-50), eye care specialists are stressing the importance of scheduling regular eye examinations and eye health evaluations for all age groups.

At Broome Optical, we believe “Life is worth seeing.” If you are concerned you have retinal detachment or would simply like more information, fill out the form on this page, call us at 806-355-5633 or visit our office located at 3408 Olsen Boulevard in Amarillo, Texas. Our friendly, professional eye care teams genuinely cares about your eye health, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.Computer Vision Syndrome Infographic