Retinal Detachment

What you need to know

Retinal detachment occurs when the thin lining at the back of your eye (the retina) detaches from its normal position. Retinal detachment can happen at any age, but is more common in people over 50. It’s also more likely to happen if you:

  • have extreme nearsightedness
  • have had an eye injury
  • have had an eye operation (such as cataract surgery)
  • have a family history of detachment

There are a number of symptoms of a retinal detachment including blurred vision and the appearance of floaters, which are dots or lines that suddenly show up in your vision. You may also see flashes of light, or experience a dark shadow or “curtain” moving across your vision. If you have symptoms of a retinal detachment, seek help immediately.

You may also have small areas of the retina that are torn. These retinal tears usually have the same symptoms as detachment, but are easier to treat. Although some retinal tears heal on their own, they can also lead to detachment and loss of vision, so it’s essential you see an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Diagnosis and treatment of retinal detachment

We will examine your retina using a special lens that allows us to see the back of your eye and look for any holes, tears or detachments. If any bleeding has occurred we may also need to use an ultrasound to get a clear view of your retina. Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing vision loss from a retinal detachment.

We offer a range of treatments for retinal tears and detachments. From straightforward cases to those that require more complicated care, we can provide you with a treatment tailored for your specific needs.

If you have a retinal tear we can use a laser to repair the damage. With this procedure we can reduce the risk of detachment from 50 percent to 5 percent.

Retinal detachments require surgery to reattach the retina and potentially return vision to the eye. At Eye Specialists we offer two types of surgery for retinal detachment: vitrectomy and scleral buckle.

Vitrectomy is a newer procedure in which we remove the gel from behind the eye so the retina goes flat. This makes it easier for us to get to the retina and repair it. In scleral buckle surgery we attach a band around the eye to push the wall of the eye in towards the detachment until it heals. The choice of procedure will depend on the specifics of your situation with each procedure having unique benefits dependent on factors such as age and severity of the condition. In some cases we combine both procedures. Vitrectomy and scleral buckle surgery can both be done in the clinic, so you can receive your diagnosis and treatment in one convenient location.

Your care at Eye Specialists is never one-size-fits-all. We take our time to ensure you receive the best diagnosis and treatment for your condition.

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RANZCO - The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists - The Leaders in Collaborative Eye Care
ANZSRS - Australian and New Zealand Society of Retinal Specialists
ASO - Australian Society of Ophthalmologists
ASRS - American Society of Retina Specialists

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