A retinal detachment
is a condition where the retina detaches itself from the underlying
layer. Usually, the retina is torn (see Flashes and Floaters)
that allows for a gradual accumulation of fluid under the
retina. The patient will commonly recognize this as a shadow
or a curtain in front of their eye, that does not disappear
and gradually gets worse, eventually affecting their central
vision. If this problem is not corrected, the process will
almost inevitably lead to blindness in the eye with the detachment.
Treatment will depend on the type of detachment, the age of
the patient and the length of time that the retina has been
detached. There are 2 types of operations: an internal approach
consisting of a “vitrectomy”, or an external approach,
which involves placing a sponge on the outside of the eye
to cover the hole in the retina. The eye surgeon will discuss
with you, the type of surgery which best suits your problem.