Retinal Detachment Diagnosis

Swift diagnosis is key in treating retinal detachment and preventing permanent vision loss. The sooner retinal detachment is diagnosed, the better the chances of restoring vision. Although the emergency complication normally doesn’t cause any pain, there are warning signs in almost all cases, including the sudden appearance of floaters and flashes of light in one or both eyes. If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with that description, the San Diego retinal detachment doctors at California Retina Associates encourage you to seek medical attention right away.

Comprehensive Retinal Examination

Retinal detachment can be diagnosed through a dilated eye examination. Special eyedrops are used to widen the pupils of your eyes; then, our doctors use a special lens and light (called an ophthalmoscope) to get a clear view of the back of your eyes, including the retina. Based on the examination, we can determine whether your retina has peeled away from the underlying tissue. We can also look for other complications (i.e., retinal tear or hole).

It’s important to note that sometimes a routine eye exam can reveal a retinal tear. In those cases, the tear can be promptly treated, reducing the risk of subsequent retinal detachment. Left untreated, a retinal tear can extend, allowing fluid to get in and start to separate the retina from the underlying tissue. With that in mind, catching a retinal tear enables us to treat it and prevent it from progressing into retinal detachment.

Ultrasound Imaging Test

In a fraction of cases, an ultrasound of the eye may be performed to obtain additional information about the retina. This is helpful if it is difficult to see your retina, perhaps because of bleeding in the eye or the opacity caused by cataracts. An ultrasound imaging test involves using high frequency sound waves to examine the inside of the eye.

During an ultrasound imaging test, you will lie down on a table and close your eyes. A special jelly will be applied to your eyelids. A transducer will be placed over your eyes to send ultrasound waves to the retina. You may be asked to slightly shift your eyes into different positions, while keeping them closed, to get different angles for the ultrasound images. No part of this test should be uncomfortable. It should take a few minutes to complete.

Based on the results of the dilated eye exam and any ultrasound imaging, our retinal specialists can confirm whether your retina has detached from the underlying tissue. If so, we can go over your retinal detachment treatment options, reviewing the pros and cons of each. Together, we will decide the course of action that is most appropriate for your set of circumstances.

Contact California Retina Associates

If you are experiencing symptoms of retinal detachment, you should seek immediate medical attention. For general information about retinal detachment and its causes or treatments, you can call our practice at (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755. We offer three convenient locations, serving La Mesa, Chula Vista, El Centro and all surrounding Southern California areas.