A detached retina or retinal detachment refers to the condition where the retina in the eye separates from the layer beneath it. Both eyes are affected in approximately 7 percent of cases. Left untreated, retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss. The commonest mechanism causing retinal detachment is a break in the retina due to posterior vitreous detachment, eye injury, and eye inflammation that allows fluid in the eye to pool behind it. Risk factors of retinal detachment include previous cataract surgery and short sightedness. Rarely, retinal detachment can also occur because of a choroidal tumor, a type of cancer in the eye. The diagnosis of a detached retina can be achieved by looking into the eye using an ophthalmoscope or ultrasound.
Some of the efforts to prevent the retina from detaching among those with a retinal tear include the use of photocoagulation with a laser or cryotherapy using a cold probe. Retinal detachment should be treated as a medical emergency. Treatment may involve the suturing of silicone to the outside of the eye (scleral buckling), injection of gas into the eye (pneumatic retinopexy), or removal of part of the vitreous to replace it with oil or gas (vitrectomy). Retinal detachments affect about 6 to 18 per 100,000 individuals annually. It is most commonly seen among those in their 60s or 70s. Males are more likely to be affected compared to females. The prognosis of retinal detachment depends on the duration of detachment and if the macula was detached. Prognosis is generally good if the patient is treated before the detachment of the macula.
Symptom #1: Floaters
Floaters refer to deposits that are of various shape, size, refractive index, consistency, and motility in the vitreous humour of the eye. Floaters are usually transparent. The commonest type can be found in most individuals due to degenerative changes of the vitreous humour.
Myodesopsia is defined as the perception of floaters. Floaters are visible due to refraction of light passing through them or the shadows it casts on the retina. It can appear as threads, spots, or cobweb like fragments that float before the patient’s eyes. It also moves following the direction in which the eyes move. It is commonly found among patients of all ages and is not usually harmful. However, it can be a symptom of retinal detachment, retinal tear, vitreous syneresis, posterior vitreous detachments, and more.