Floaters and flashers could be signs of retinal detachment
There are three types of retinal detachment:
- Rhegmatogenous: This is the most-common type of retinal detachment, in which a tear or cut in the retina permits fluid to separate the retina from the retinal pigment epithelium. That’s the layer of cells that provides nutrition to the retina.
- Tractional: A less common occurrence is when scar tissue on the retina contracts and causes the separation.
- Exudative: This when the retina becomes inflamed because of disease and fluid can leak, again causing separation.
A similar, but not as threatening, condition is a separating of the vitreous, or the watery part of the eye, known as posterior vitreous detachment. In this case, floaters eventually may lessen.
Still, it’s important to be checked immediately if you see floaters.
Retinal detachment can be treated, but it’s imperative that it be done at the first occurrence of symptoms to increase the chance of repair and protecting eyesight.
Smaller holes can be treated with laser surgery or by employing cryopexy. In laser surgery, tiny “burns” are made around the holes in the retina to put the retina back in its place, while cryopexy accomplished this task through freezing the afflicted area.
Being referred right away to a retina specialist is the best thing you can do. It can be diagnosed and treated. Most times the patient will go to the operating room that day or the following morning.