RETINAL DETACHMENT

The retina is a layer of tissue in the back of the eye that senses light and sends images to the brain, providing the sharp, central vision needed for reading, driving and seeing fine detail. Person with a normal eye but with a retina disease will have poor vision.

A retinal detachment is a separation of the retina from its attachments to the underlying tissue within the eye. It can occur at any age, but it is more common in people over age 40, it is also more likely to occur in people who:

  • Are extremely nearsighted
  • Have had a retinal detachment in the other eye
  • Have a family history of retinal detachment
  • Have had cataract surgery
  • Have other eye diseases or disorders
  • Have had an eye injury

DIFFERENT TYPES OF RETINAL DETACHMENT

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Rhegmatogenous

A tear or break in the retina allows fluid to get under the retina and separate it from the pigmented cell layer that nourishes the retina.

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Tractional

In this type of detachment, scar tissue on the retina’s surface contracts and causes the retina to separate from the pigmented cell layer that nourishes the retina.

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Exudative

Frequently caused by retinal diseases, including inflammatory disorders and injury/trauma to the eye. In this type, fluid leaks into the area underneath the retina, but there are no tears or breaks in the retina.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR RETINAL DETACHMENT

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Pneumatic Retinopexy

In this procedure, a gas bubble is injected into the middle of the eyeball. The gas bubble floats to the detached area and presses lightly against the detached retina, flattening it so that the fluid below it can be reabsorbed. The tear in the retina is then sealed useing a freezing probe (cryopexy) or laser beam (photocoagulation)

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Scleral Buckling Surgery

In this procedure a piece of silicone sponge, rubber, or semi-hard plastic is sewn on the outer layer of the eye. This relieves pulling (traction) on the retina, preventing tears from getting worse, and it supports the layers of the retina.

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Vitrectomy

This is the removal of the vitreous gel from the eye. Vitrectomy gives the doctor better access to the retina and other tissues. It allows the scar tissue to be peeled off the retina, repair holes, close very large tears, and directly flatten a retinal detachment.

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