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Retinal Detachment

  1. What is it?

The retina is a thin layer of nerves which is attached to the inner wall of the eye. It serves to receive images, somewhat like film in a camera. When it detaches from the wall of the eye, it stops functioning normally.

  1. What causes it?

Most commonly, it is caused by 1 or more tears or holes in the retina. This in turn is due to the vitreous (a jelly like substance which fills the eye) pulling on the retina or degeneration of the retina. Other types of retinal detachment can be caused by such problems as inflammation or scarring.

  1. How would I know if I have it?

Floaters or flashes of light may represent symptoms of retinal tears. If a portion of the retina has detached, a shadow will appear in the periphery of your vision. If left untreated, blurring of central vision will eventually occur.

  1. Am I at risk?

Short sighted persons are more likely to suffer a retinal break with the possibility of detachment. Those with previous eye trauma or surgery also have an increased risk. Other factors include a family history of the same problem and diabetes.

  1. How is it treated?

If detected early, a retinal break or small localized detachment can be managed with laser or cryotherapy. In more advanced cases, surgery is required. Depending on certain features of the detachment, surgical options include pneumatic retinopexy, sclera buckling and vitrectomy.

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