What is retinal detachment?

The retina is like the film in a camera and it’s the part of the eye that is light-sensitive and that you actually see with. What can happen is that you can develop a tear and fluid passes through the tear or the hole of the retina and lifts it off the wall of the eye. It’s very important that that’s diagnosed quickly and that we carry out treatment in a very timely fashion.

Typically the symptoms that people get are lots of lashes, lots of floaters and they may even see a shadow developing over there eye. If that occurs then you need to be checked out within 24 to 48 hours.

Once the diagnosis has been made then it needs an operation to resolve. The operations are now very successful and we expect that 90% of people to have one operation to reattach the retina and to restore sight.

So if you have a retinal detachment it’s potentially a sign threatening condition that needs treatment quickly and we can sort this out with surgery. What we do is remove the vitreous gel from inside your eye, put in a bubble of gas to push the rest of the back into position and then we can apply some freezing treatment or some laser treatment to spot weld the retina into the position.

The outcomes are a very good we would expect 90% of people to have one operation to reattach the retina and to restore their site. The things that you may have to do postoperatively are to keep your head in a particular position to help push the retina into position and to hold it there while healing takes place. Typically people have to keep the head in that particular position for five days post-op. The other restriction is that while there is a gas bubble in the eye, you can’t go on an airplane. That usually takes four to six weeks for the gas bubble to absorb. But overall the outcomes of very good with prompt treatment.

More about Paul Rosen

Paul Rosen is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at The Grange Eye Consultants. His special expertise is in laser eye surgery, cataract surgery, and the treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal diseases. He has over 20 years experience in treating people with eye problems. Paul is invited to lecture on cataract and refractive surgery both nationally and internationally. He leads clinical trials investigating novel eye treatments. Paul has served as the President of the UK and Ireland Society of Refractive Surgeons and is currently the President of the European Society of Corneal and Refractive Surgery. More recently I’d been appointed as a member of the NICE Cataract Guidelines Committee and also on the Refractive Surgery Subcommittee of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.