What is a retinal detachment?
The retina covers the back inside wall of the eye. When light hits the retina, an image is formed and messages about this image are sent to the brain and vision occurs. A healthy retina is needed for good vision.
When the retina comes away from the back of the eye it is called a retinal detachment.
You may experience light flashes, large floaters or shadows with partial or complete loss of vision. If not treated early, it may result in a permanent vision loss.
What is caused by?
Sometimes the cause is unknown. Aging of the eye can cause the gel-like fluid in the eye to shrink causing a detachment. A hard blow can also result in a detached retina. Sometimes, other diseases such as diabetes, some tumors or inflammations can cause detachments as well. This can also be a complication of ocular surgery including cataract.
How is it treated?
If you are unable to be seen by your own physician or optometrist within 24 hours, Misericordia Health Centre is open 24/7 for eye emergencies (present at Patient Registration through 99 Cornish Avenue entrance) OR visit an Urgent Care Centre OR visit an Emergency Department where a physician will do an assessment of your eye issue and make a referral to an ophthalmologist if required. Repair of the detachment can be accomplished by laser, cryopexy (cold therapy), or an application of a silicone band on the sclera of the eye to push the retina back into place. Sometimes the surgeon must perform a vitrectomy which cuts away part of the gel in the eye, then replaces it with air or gas to push the retina against the back of the eye. You must follow the surgeon’s instructions carefully after the procedure regarding positioning of your head to keep the air / gas bubble in the right place.
Please refer to the Patient Guide Before Surgery. Should you have questions regarding any information on the instructions, call the Preoperative Assessment Clinic (POAC) at 204-788-8531.
Refer to the instruction Guidelines Following Retinal Detachment or Vitrectomy for postoperative information.
“AS YOU HEAL” is a Retinal detachment / Vitrectomy support and information group designed for those people in the recovery period after retinal detachment or vitrectomy surgery to assist them with the challenge of adjusting to visual changes. All retinal patients will be given information about this support group after their surgery. Tips and resources are provided to enhance coping skills during the recovery phase. The group is facilitated by a social worker.