What is retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment occurs when your retina, or the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, is lifted or pulled from its natural position. This is considered an emergency situation, as it separates the retinal cells from the blood vessels that nourish them. Left untreated, retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss. Because of the severity of the condition, you should contact a retina specialist as soon as possible if you notice symptoms.

What causes retinal detachment?

There are three types of retinal detachment:

  • Rhegmatogenous – The most common type of retinal detachment, rhegmatogenous detachment occurs when the vitreous gets into the retina through a tear or break and separates it from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), the pigmented cell layer that provides its nourishment.
  • Tractional – With the less common tractional detachment, scar tissue on the retina’s surface contracts, causing it to separate from the RPE. This type of detachment may be a result of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Exudative – Trauma to the eye or retinal disease can lead to exudative detachments. As with rhegmatogenous detachment, fluid leaking into the area underneath the retina causes a separation from the RPE. However, with exudative detachment there are no tears or breaks in the retina.

What are the risk factors for retinal detachment?

Risk factors for retinal detachment include:

  • A family history of retinal detachment
  • Retinal detachment in the other eye
  • Trauma to the eye
  • Eye diseases including retinopathy, retinoschisis or uveitis
  • Cataract surgery
  • Extreme nearsightedness

Retinal detachment is more common in white males over the age of 40, but sex, race, and age are not always factors.

What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?

Symptoms of retinal detachment may include:

  • A sudden onset of several floaters, which are dots or cobweb-like objects that appear to be floating around the field of vision
  • Flashers, which are streaks of light that appear in the peripheral vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Partial vision loss
  • The appearance of a dark curtain-like shadow or spots in your field of vision

We focus our practice on the detection and treatment of retinal disorders. If you experience any of these issues, call us at call (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-77555 right away to request an exam and screening for retinal detachment.

How is retinal detachment diagnosed?

Retina specialists may use special tests or instruments to examine the back of the eye and confirm retinal detachment.

How is retinal detachment treated?

At California Retina Associates, we provide retinal detachment treatments including photocoagulation, which involves using a laser beam to create burns around the retina tear that weld the retina to the underlying tissue. We also offer cryopexy, during which we use a freezing probe to the outer surface of the eye over the tear, causing a scar that secures the retina to the back wall of the eye. Some cases may require pneumatic retinopexy, in which we inject a bubble of air or gas into the center of the eye to push the retina against the wall of the eye.

All of these treatments can be performed in our office, but the treatment best suited to meet your needs will depend on the type of retinal detachment you are facing.

Where can I find out more about retinal detachment in San Diego?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of retinal detachment, please contact California Retina Associates to schedule an evaluation at one of our San Diego locations.