Retinal injuries are a significant eye problem that may result in partial or complete vision loss, depending on the severity of the condition. Identifying the problem and seeking prompt treatment can give you the best chance at retaining your vision.
Know The Signs
Retinal tears or detachment can happen due to an acute injury or spontaneously. In most cases, people experience sudden vision changes, such as floaters or the sensation of a curtain being pulled across their field of vision. Since floaters are a common and often normal occurrence, it is important to differentiate between a haphazard occurrence and signs of an emergency. During a retinal injury, it may appear to rain floaters, which can look like moving black dots, light flashes, or squiggly shapes in your visual field. If the problem does not pass within a few seconds, such as when you stand up too quickly, you should contact your eye doctor for an immediate evaluation. If possible, ask someone to take you to the doctor because it is unwise to drive, since your vision may continue to change abruptly.
One of the many benefits of prompt treatment is that the quicker the problem is treated, the more likely you will retain your vision. If the problem is a retinal tear, it may not progress if treated quickly. Depending on the exact location of a tear, your eye doctor may use a laser to create a small scar at the site of the tear. Scarring may be accomplished through a traditional laser or a freezing technique. This small scar can help close the tear and keep it from progressing. In many cases, it is necessary to have the procedure done quickly to avoid or lessen vision loss. These procedures are often done in an ophthalmologic office and do not require significant recovery time.
Consider More Extensive Procedures
Unfortunately, some retinal problems result in partial or complete detachment of the retina. This can severely impact vision, especially if your central vision is affected. The goal is to reduce pressure on the retina and keep it in place while it heals. Different techniques can be used to push the retina back into place. One of these procedures replaces the liquid inside your eye with a gas to keep the retina in place while it heals. Another option is a synthetic piece of material, called a buckle, which is wrapped around the eye and essentially squeezes the eye enough to make contact with the retina and hold it in place.
When the retina has detached, the recovery time may be more extensive, and you must be mindful of your day-to-day activities for your eye to heal appropriately. For example, you may be required to limit your physical activity to prevent subsequent injury to your eye or to keep the buckle or gas in place. Although most retinal surgeries successfully repair the retina, this does not guarantee your vision will return to normal.
Retinal tears and detachments are a serious eye concern that must be addressed promptly. The quicker you identify and repair the problem, the higher chances at minimizing permanent vision loss.
For more information, contact Coastal Eye Group PC or a similar location.