How to Protect Your Eyes From Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment is a serious medical emergency that can result in full and permanent vision loss in the affected eye if left untreated. It occurs when the retina, which is the thin layer of light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye, becomes separated from its normal position. This can happen without warning, can lead to a sudden loss of vision in your eye, and is difficult to prevent. However, there are some precautions you can take.
Types of Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment is classified into three different types:
Rhegmatogenous: This type of retinal detachment occurs when you have a tear in your retina. This is the most common form of retinal detachment and is generally caused by natural aging. As we get older, the clear, gel-like fluid (vitreous) within our eye can diminish and pull on the retina, causing it to tear. When the retina tears, the vitreous fluid in the center of the eye can leak through, get behind the retina, and force the retina to detach from the inner back of the eyeball.
Tractional: Tractional retinal detachment is often caused by diabetes. If you have high blood sugar, the blood vessels in your eye can become damaged and possibly cause scarring of your retina. If the scar becomes larger, it can tug at the retina until it detaches from the eyeball.
Exudative: This type of retinal detachment occurs without any retinal tears or scars when fluid builds up and becomes trapped behind the retina. As the fluid builds up, it pushes the retina out of position, causing it to become detached. It is commonly caused by swelling in the back of the eye or leaking blood vessels, which can be caused by injury, an eye tumor, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and inflammation.
Risk Factors for Retinal Detachment
Some people are more likely than others to experience retinal detachment. By understanding these factors and recognizing your potential risk, you’ll be more likely to recognize the symptoms and seek treatment sooner rather than later. These risk factors include:
- Being over the age of 50
- Extreme nearsightedness
- History of previous retinal detachment
- History of severe eye injury
- History of eye surgery
- Other eye conditions, such as uveitis
- Family history of retinal detachment
Recognizing the Signs of Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment can sometimes happen very suddenly, but in many cases, there are warning signs that happen right before the retina becomes detached. These symptoms include:
- A sudden surge in new eye floaters in your vision
- Flashing lights
- Blurry vision
- A veil of darkness over your vision
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial that you seek treatment immediately, especially if you have one or more risk factors for retinal detachment. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that you will experience permanent blindness.
To learn more about retinal detachments and retinal health, contact Austin Retina today.