Retinal Conditions in West Chester, Paoli and Kennett Square PA

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina of the eye is pulled away from the underlying tissue to which it is attached. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency which can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. In most cases, the detachment is a slowly progressing issue which must be treated once symptoms are realized. In some cases, a detachment occurs due to a trauma which causes a tear in the retina, allowing fluid to enter the vitreous and pull on the retinal tissue.

Causes of a Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment can be complication of cataract surgery. A severe inflammation may alter the position of the retinal tissue and begin the detachment process. Other causes of a retinal detachment may be as follows:
  • Nearsightedness
  • A retinal tear
  • Family history of retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataract surgery
  • Trauma
  • Existing eye condition

Symptoms of a Retinal Detachment

Symptoms of retinal detachment may progress slowly or rapidly, but both should be reported to a medical doctor as soon as possible so as to minimize the risk of vision loss. Some of the symptoms of a retinal detachment include:
  • A sudden decrease in visual acuity
  • A sudden increase of “floaters” in vision
  • Bright flashes in the periphery
  • An unnatural “curving” of straight lines
  • Loss of central vision
  • A dense shadow throughout the visual field

The patient should be taken to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

Diagnosis of a Retinal Detachment

Diagnosis of a retinal detachment is made after a thorough medical eye examination and the performance of the following diagnostic tests:
  • Dilated eye examination
  • Ultrasound of the eye
  • Fundus photography of the retina
  • Visual acuity test
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Electroretinogram
  • Fluorescein angiography
  • Ophthalmoscopy

Treatment of a Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment may be treated in many ways, which may include one or both of the following:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Laser photocoagulation
  • Pneumatic retinopexy
  • Scleral buckle
  • Vitrectomy
Most surgeries to repair a retinal detachment are successful. In some cases, a second procedure will need to be performed. After a successful procedure, vision will take time to improve but may not return to previous levels of acuity.

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