If you're in middle or old age, you might be surprised to know that your vision could be at a higher risk from something other than cataracts. As people age, their eyes and their components can change, increasing the risk of an ailment called retinal detachment. Recognizing the symptoms of this disorder early on can help you to get treatment before the damage becomes permanent. Read this guide to learn more about retinal detachment, its symptoms, and what treatment entails.
Age-Related Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment can happen at any age, but it's usually due to an injury or a disease like diabetes in younger adults. As one's age progresses, however, a part of the eye called the vitreous humor can change, increasing the risk of retinal detachment.
The vitreous humor is a gel-like substance that surrounds your eye's retina in order to provide cushioning and protection. However, in old age, the vitreous humor can become thinner, peeling away from the retina. This is problematic enough on its own, but if it pulls on the retina when it peels away, the retina may become detached from the eye.
The symptoms of retinal detachment include eye floaters, blurry vision, or a reduction in your ability to see clearly in peripheral vision or total vision. Generally speaking, retinal detachment isn't a painful condition, so if you're experiencing any of these signs but aren't in any discomfort, don't assume that your eyes are okay. Getting treatment immediately is necessary in order to repair the damage to the retina and to prevent permanent vision loss.
Depending on the condition of your eye, your doctor will either use an ophthalmoscope to examine your eye, or they'll run an ultrasound. Ophthalmoscopes can allow your doctor to view all parts of your eye, including the retina, but if there's been any bleeding, an ultrasound may be necessary.
Determining how much of the retina has detached is necessary to choose treatment. If the retina is still partially attached to your eye, your doctor may choose to use a laser to burn the edges of the retina where it meets the eye, effectively fusing the two together.
However, if the retina has completely detached, surgery will be necessary to re-attach it.
Retinal detachment is a serious risk in older age, so don't ignore problems with your eyes, even if they seem minor. Making the decision to see an eye doctor immediately could protect your vision and give you a chance at having a much simpler procedure to repair the damage.
For more information, talk with an optometrist or go to sites of local eye centers to make an appointment.