Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment

State-of-the-art ophthalmology care to keep your eyes healthy and protect your vision

A detached retina is a serious eye condition that can put your eyesight at risk. The retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye, separates from the underlying tissues. Without rapid treatment a retinal detachment can permanently affect your vision.

London Medical’s world-leading ophthalmologists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal detachment. Using the latest, cutting-edge equipment they can help protect your sight and safeguard your future wellbeing.

What is retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina in the eye becomes loose and separate. The retina is the thin layer of nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye. It is light-sensitive and sends information to the brain, which is interpreted into the images you see.

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The retina has a crucial role in vision. When part of the retina is detached your eyesight can become distorted, disturbed and blurry, this can be a particular problem if the highly sensitive macula in the centre of the retina is affected. At this worrying time, London Medical can provide expert ophthalmology care and a supportive, stress-free environment in which to recover.

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What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?

The symptoms of retinal detachment can come on suddenly or build up over several hours or even weeks. It is important to get assessment within 24 hours. Contact London Medical, NHS 111 or your local Accident and Emergency if you’ve noticed:

  • Floating dots or lines suddenly appearing in your vision.
  • An increase in the number of ‘floaters’ that you can see.
  • Flashes of light in your vision.
  • A dark shadow or curtain spreading across your field of vision.
  • Deterioration in eyesight with vision being distorted or blurred.

Anyone who is worried about changes in their vision should seek specialist advice. London Medical offers a daily clinic with leading ophthalmologists and optometry care, so that you can quickly access expert opinion.

Diagnosis of retinal detachment at London Medical

London Medical is equipped with the latest technology for accurately diagnosing eye disease. The specialist will examine the back of the eye using an ophthalmoscope. They’ll also use a slit lamp, a special ophthalmic microscope with a bright light, to fully examine your eye as you look in different directions.

Drops are usually applied to open up the pupils and make it easier to inspect the retina. These can affect your vision for a short time, so it’s sensible to come with a friend or family member.

If your consultant suspects a detachment or a tear in the retina, they will arrange further investigations, such as an ultrasound scan. Your consultant will take time to discuss the results of your tests and develop a bespoke treatment plan. Prompt specialist treatment can prevent further damage to your eyes and protect your vision.

Treatment of retinal detachment at London Medical

London Medical is one of the capital’s leading centres for eye care. Your specialist will discuss the best treatment for your eyes, your health and your lifestyle. Most people need emergency surgery to reattach the retina and prevent damage to the macula, which is critical for central vision.

At London Medical, your retina specialist can diagnose and manage a retinal detachment and proceed with surgery if clinically indicated. Most retinal detachment surgery is performed under local anaesthetic, but a general anaesthetic may be needed. Your consultant will explain the options, always considering your thoughts and preferences. Surgery involves repairing tears using laser or cryotherapy, then ensuring the retina heals in the correct position using one of three surgical techniques:

Vitrectomy: A procedure in which clear gel from the back of your eye is removed and replaced with a bubble of gas. This bubble presses against the retina, holding it flat against the back of the eye as it heals. The gas slowly dissipates over six weeks.

Pneumatic retinopexy: For minor detachments a small gas bubble can be inserted without removing any vitreous gel. The bubble also works to press the retina into position before naturally disappearing.

Scleral buckle surgery: Your surgeon will attach a narrow synthetic band to the outside of your eye. This exerts pressure so that the retina and the back of the eye are in contact, helping reattachment.

Following surgery, London Medical’s expert team will provide individual advice and support your healthy recovery. As the local anaesthetic wears off, your eye may feel sore and gritty and uncomfortable. It’s normal to experience blurred vision in the early stages; however, this should settle and by six weeks you should feel fully recovered.

Frequently Asked Questions

Retinal detachment can affect your eyesight and your ability to drive safely. If you’re worried it’s better not to drive until you’ve had a full assessment.

The consultants at London Medical will be able to provide individual advice about driving following surgery for retinal detachment. It’s important to follow their guidance, check your insurance cover and also to follow the laws for informing the DVLA about your treatment. These include:

  • If you’ve had detached retinas in both eyes you must tell the DVLA.
  • If you’ve had retinal detachment in one eye, you must tell the DVLA if you think it could affect your driving.
  • If you drive a bus, coach or lorry you must tell the DVLA if you’ve had any retinal surgery.
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