Retinal Detachment


The retina is a highly specialized nervous tissue able to perceive the light reflected by objects and people and to transform light stimulations into nervous impulses, which, arriving to the visual cortex of the brain through the optic nerve and the optic chiasm, are processed and “translated” into images.

The retina lines the ocular fundus and covers most of the internal part of the eye. In the presence of certain pathological conditions, the retinal tissue separates in whole or in part from the ocular fundus and loses contact with the underlying layer, the retinal pigment epithelium and, consequently, also with the choroid, the structure that provides oxygen and nutrients to the photoreceptors. When this occurs, the cells of the retina are no longer able to function correctly and the consequence is a significant visual deficit. If one does not intervene adequately and timely, the retinal cells are going to dies and the visual deficit is transformed into a permanent loss of vision.


A retinal break showing also an initial but limited infiltration of vitreous, in function of its localization, can be promptly treated if it is circumscribed and can be clearly seen at the slit lamp. Should this be the case, a photocoagulation treatment (e.g. DDF) can be used in order to circumscribe the retinal injury. In the event that the retinal detachment is already present, the patient must be immediately submitted to a cerclage or vitrectomy surgery: in most cases vitrectomy appears to be the optimum choice. Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure where the vitreous humor gel that fills the eye cavity is removed to provide better access to the retina. The sudden contraction of the vitreous humour having caused a hole or a retinal break, vitrectomy enables the repositioning of the already detached retina in a short time, so as to avoid that photoreceptors are subjected to an irreversible degenerative process leading to blindness.

When the retinal detachment does not involve the central part of the eye (the macula), the condition can be asymptomatic during a preliminary phase. Often, however, the patient perceives flashes of light or a sensation of cloudiness of vision caused by the traction exerted by the vitreous body on the retinal surface and by the presence of the detached and collapsed vitreous that interferes with the optic axis, respectively. Since retinal detachment is always a very dangerous event for the vision, it is of primary importance in the presence of symptoms (such as the perception of flashes of light and/or floaters) that the patient be submitted to a check up by his eye specialist in order to monitor the health condition of the retina and, in particular, if the patient is very short-sighted, identify the areas of fragility of the retina (peripheral retinal degenerations), a previous cataract surgery or retinal detachment in the other eye or the presence of cases of inheritance in the patient’s family for this type of pathology .


If you believe that you are suffering from this pathology or you have any doubts that you wish to be clarified you can contact us.


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