WHAT IS VITREOUS BODY?
The vitreous body is a gelatinous material that fills the space inside the eye behind the lens. Over the years, the vitreous will tend to liquefy and may tense. This happens often and much earlier in eyes that are highly myopic. This can also occur after damage or inflammation in the eye.
WHAT IS RETINA?
The retina is a thin sheet of light-sensitive nerve tissue inside the eye. It is the tissue that transforms light into an electrical signal sent to the brain.
WHAT IS RETINAL TEAR?
When the vitreous separates from the retina, sometimes it can tear it apart. These tears are often small and placed near the front of the retina. The only symptoms produced by a retinal tear are flashes and / or floating bodies.
Anyone having flashes or the sudden onset of a new floating body (or floating bodies) should be promptly viewed by an optometrist. The optometrist will carefully look for the presence of retinal tears.
WHAT IS THE RETINAL DETACHMENT?
A detachment of the retina is a separation of the retina from the back wall of the eye. When there is a tear in the retina, vitreous fluid can pass through the tear and detach the retina. As fluid accumulates, retinal detachment becomes more important. The isolated areas of the retina then lose their sensitivity to light.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF RETINAL DETACHMENT?
Most people notice floating bodies and flashes before the retina breaks off. While detachment occurs, a dark field of view (black area) that gradually expands can be seen. Some compare this to a curtain that goes down or a veil that stands out in front of the eye. The dark veil can begin in any part of the visual field. If the dark veil reaches the center of the visual field, the eye may not see the fine details.
WHO CAN HAVE A RETINAL DETACHMENT?
Although anyone can have a retinal detachment, they are much more common in a few groups of individuals. These include very myopic people, people over 50, those who have had significant damage to one eye, and those with a family history of retinal detachment.
HOW ARE RETINIAN TEARS AND DETACHMENTS TREATED?
Retinal tears with little or no detachment can be treated with laser or cryopexy procedures. Some retinal tears do not require treatment.
Most of the retinal detachment requires surgery to place the separated retina against the back wall of the eye (the choroid). There are several methods used today. The type of surgery used depends on the type and extent of detachment and the preference of the patient and the retinal surgeon.
The scleral ring is the most common operation for isolated detachment of the retina. In this process, the tear or the detachment of the retina is first located. A flexible piece of rubber or plastic is then sewn to the sclera (white of the eye) to support the torn or peeled area. The fluid can flow under the isolated retina.
Pneumatic retinopexy is a new method for the repair of retinal detachment. It is not suitable for all types of detachment. In this technique, the tear or peel is identified and then treated as follows: a special gas bubble is then injected into the eye. The gas is used to push the detachment on the choroid.
Vitrectomy is another surgical method to treat some types of retinal detachment. It is usually used for extended or hard to reach detachments, when there is excessive blood in the vitreous or for detachments that have failed with other methods.
WILL MY VISION RECOVER AFTER A DETACHMENT OF THE RETINA?
With common methods, about 9 out of 10 detachments of the retina can be repaired. Since detachment can damage the retina, most people do not recover perfect vision.
If the macula (the central portion or the central part of the retina) is not affected by the detachment, about 2 out of 3 eyes will get a satisfactory vision. If this central area is affected, only about 1 eye out of 3 eyes will regain good vision.
(Source : Association des Optométristes du Québec)