WHAT IS A RETINAL DETACHMENT?
As the vitreous gel in the back of the eye starts to liquefy, it can separate from
the retina, a condition called vitreous detachment. If the vitreous gel adheres
too firmly to the retina, a retinal tear can occur with a vitreous detachment. A
retinal detachment occurs when fluid leaks through the tear and separates the retina
from the back of the eye.
Patients with a retinal tear or detachment often, but not always, have flashes and
floaters as their first symptoms. This occurs as the vitreous gel detaches from
the back of the eye. Other patients may have very few symptoms. Patients may describe
a "curtain" being drawn across the peripheral vision or decreased peripheral vision.
If untreated, most retinal detachments will cause progressive loss of vision and
eventually total blindness.
LASER TREATMENT OF THE RETINA: Laser is a highly focused and concentrated
beam of light that is usually performed to decrease leakage in the retina, treat
abnormal blood vessel growth, or create a beneficial scarring effect that can help
prevent a retinal detachment. Laser treatment is performed in our office, with no
hospitalization, and generally requires no special postoperative restrictions.
Special eye drops are used to numb the eye (topical anesthesia) to reduce any discomfort
during the procedure. Sometimes, an injection of local anesthesia to numb the entire
area around the eye is needed.