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Peripheral Retina and Retinal Detachment

Peripheral Retina and Retinal Detachment

Tractionnal Retinal detachment of diabetic

The peripheral retina is used to see on the sides, for the peripheral visual field. Different groups of eye diseases can affect the peripheral retina including retinal detachments.

Retinal detachments usually occur in patients with moderate to high myopia. They can happen spontaneously or be the result of a trauma. In the case of spontaneous retinal detachment , the retina is weak. Prior to the detachment, your optometrist can assess at risk retinal lesions during your routine eye exam. In our optometry office in Miami, we dilate every patient we see for a routine eye exam , even if they are asymptomatic, to look for retinal detachments risks such as retinal tears, retinal holes.

If such retinal tear or retinal hole is seen during your routine optometry exam, you will be referred to a retinal specialist for a second opinion. He may elect to use a laser to strengthen the retina and prevent a retinal detachment from happening.

Retinal detachment symptoms include:

  • Flashes of light in vision 

  • Floaters suddenly in the vision 

  • Loss of side vision 

  • Sensation that a curtain is obscuring the vision 

Not all patients presenting with flashes and floaters have a retinal detachment. Flashes indicate there is active traction on the retina. That can be due to a Posterior Vitreous Detachment or PVD. PVDs are common in patients over the age of 40. The gel inside the eye known as vitreous tends to contract with age and liquify. As that happens the gel should gently detach from its retinal attachments. If that does not happen gently, as the gel pulls on the retina this can create a retinal tear and a retinal detachment. Some patients with a posterior vitreous detachment are asymptomatic. Some will present with complaints of flashes and/or floaters, but the retina is intact, in some unfortunate cases, a retinal tear or detachment is present. Importantly, the retinal detachment can happen several weeks after the posterior vitreous detachment episode. 

If you experience any of those symptoms, call us to make an appointment for an eye exam the same day. If we can't see you , you will be referred to an ophthalmologist on call to have a dilated fundus exam. After this initial exam, our optometry office in Miami likes to follow standard of care and repeat the dilated funds exam 4-6 weeks after the initial visit. This is to confirm no retinal holes or retinal tears are present.

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