- Most retinal detachments occur from degenerative changes associated with aging typically after the age of 50
- Few retinal detachments occur in children and young adults usually due to; near sightedness, inherited vitreous disorders, or trauma
- Most retinal detachments are fixable but visual prognosis depends on their presenting features
- People with moderate to severe near sightedness or those who have family histories of retinal detachments should be checked to reduce risk of developing a retinal detachment
- Retinal tears from posterior vitreous detachments is the leading cause of retinal detachments. Another common cause is from near sightedness or myopia. Near sighted individuals have thin retinas and sticky vitreous gel. This combination often leads to small retina holes forming. If these holes have enough traction from the gel they can cause retinal detachments without a PVD, often at a younger age in the 20-40 range.
- Patients often ask ‘what will my vision be like when the retina is reattached?’ This is a challenging question. There are two variables. One is how extensive the detachment is, the other is whether your eye develops scar tissue or not. If the retinal detachment has not yet affected the center of the vision AND you do not develop scar tissue a lot of patients will have little to no difference in their vision. If the center of the vision detaches you may still be able to read the smallest lines on the chart. However, the quality of the vision may not be perfect since the very delicate cells that are highly organized in the center of the vision may have suffered some damage when they were detached.
- There is a 5 in 6 chance of fixing a retinal detachment with a single procedure. In one out of 6 patients scar tissue formation can occur. Just like a cut can heal with scar tissue on your skin, the eye can grow scar tissue after a retinal procedure and occasionally it can be strong enough to re-detach the retina. If this occurs further surgery is usually warranted.
- To see the various techniques of how retinal detachments can be treated see the videos below