Retinal Detachment

The retina is a layer of tissue at the back of the eye. When it is detached from the layer of blood vessels that provide it with oxygen, the retina may deteriorate, causing loss of vision in the affected eye.

Causes of detached retina include the following:
  • Contraction of the gel (vitreous) that fills the space between the lens and the retina
  • Trauma from injury
  • Advanced diabetes
  • Inflammatory eye disorder

Symptoms of retinal detachment may include some of the following visual illusions:
  • Sudden flashes of light
  • A shadow over a portion of the field of vision
  • The appearance of small bits of debris in the field of vision that look like spots, hairs or strings (also called floaters)

Treating Retinal Detachment
If the retina is torn but not completely detached, it may be possible to use laser treatment or cryotherapy to fuse the retina in place. For retinas that have completely detached, surgery may be necessary to repair the structure of the eye. Laser treatment or cryotherapy may still be required after surgery to help hold the retina in place.

Surgery for retinal detachment includes three primary forms:
  • Pneumatic retinopexy, the injection of a gas bubble into the vitreous in order to push the retinal tear back against the wall of the eye
  • Scleral buckle, a band placed around the eye to hold the retina in place
  • Vitrectomy, the removal of the gel that pulls on the retina

At Houston Methodist a multidisciplinary team of doctors works together to ensure the highest quality of patient care.

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