Retinal Detachment - Experience

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What is a retinal detachment?

A retinal detachment is a separation of the retina from its attachments to the underlying tissue within the eye. Most retinal detachments are a result of a retinal break, hole, or tear. These retinal breaks may occur when the vitreous gel pulls loose or separates from its attachment to the retina, usually in the peripheral parts of the retina. The vitreous is a clear gel that fills two-thirds of the inside of the eye and occupies the space in front of the retina. As the vitreous gel pulls loose, it will sometimes exert traction on the retina, and if the retina is weak, the retina will tear. Most retinal breaks are not a result of injury. Retinal tears are sometimes accompanied by bleeding if a retinal blood vessel is included in the tear. Many people develop separation of the vitreous from the retina as they get older. However, only a small percentage of these vitreous separations result in retinal tears.

Once the retina has torn, liquid from the vitreous gel can then pass through the tear and accumulate behind the retina. The buildup of fluid behind the retina is what separates (detaches) the retina from the back of the eye. As more of the liquid vitreous collects behind the retina, the extent of the retinal detachment can progress and involve the entire retina, leading to a total retinal detachment. A retinal detachment almost always affects only one eye at a time. The second eye, however, must be checked thoroughly for any signs of predisposing factors that may lead to detachment in the future.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: GF, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 29

I'm 35 and initially had PVD (peripheral vascular disease). I was seeing a lot of eye floaters and light flashes. I went to the doctor's office and he did a retinal laser to prevent the retina from tearing. Then after about a week, a large moon shape shadow appeared in the bottom of my viewing area. At first I thought it just could be a sight effect of the laser. Luckily I went to see the doctor and was told that I had a tear and detached retina. He scheduled for a surgery for me on the next day. Since I had cataract, the cataract surgery was done together with a vitrectomy, laser and he put a gas bubble. It has been 2 days since the surgery and my vision is very blurred because of the bubble. I was told to sleep in a sitting position to keep the bubble at the top. So far the dark shadow is gone but seeing that a lot of people have repeated detachment, I'm really concerned. I hope it'll be okay.

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Comment from: Gina, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

I had Lasik surgery in October 1999 and suffered a detached retina in the weaker eye in November 2000. I had very slow recovery. I had to keep my head down for 10 days. Six weeks post operation I felt no better. Gas bubble in my eye showed no signs of going away. I finally showed some improvement in late December. My eye has scars, and vision has greatly deteriorated since then. The other eye is fine.

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