Retina Detachment - Medical Malpractice Lawyer
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Retina Detachment Overview
Retinal detachment is an eye emergency in which the retina, the layer at the back of the eye, pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provide the retina with oxygen and nutrients it normally needs. This leads the retina without the normal oxygen it needs and the longer this happens, the greater is the chance that there will be permanent loss of vision in the eye that is affected.
Fortunately, there are clear symptoms that an early detachment is about to happen. This means that there is always the possibility of early diagnosis and treatment that can save your eyesight. If you suspect you might have a retinal detachment, see an ophthalmologist or other eye specialist as soon as you see the warning signs.
Retinal detachment is a painless condition in and of itself but the warning signs and symptoms often appear before the detachment occurs or has advanced. The symptoms and signs of retinal detachment include the following:
- Sudden flashes of light in the affected eye
- A curtain or shadow cloaked over the portion of your visual field that is being detached
- The sudden appearance of numerous floaters, which are small pieces of debris in the field of vision that look like hair, strings, spots or strings floating before the eyes
Retinal detachment can occur as a result of shrinkage or contracture of the vitreous humor—the gelatinous material that fills the inside of the eye and can tug on the retina, causing a retinal tear and a retinal detachment. It can also occur due to an injury of the eye, to advanced diabetes or to an inflammatory eye disorders. Retinal detachment happens when gel-like material leaks through a retinal hole or tear and the vitreous collects beneath the retina, detaching it little by little.
The reasons for tears in the retina include an ageing retina which causes the retina to thin out. Because it is so thin, it can easily tear. There can also be a sudden collapse of the vitreous humor causing a pulling away of the retina. Fluid in the vitreous works its way into the tear, collecting under the retina so that it peels away from underlying tissue layers. These are the layers that provide oxygen and nutrients to the retina. The area where the retina detaches loses its blood supply, quits working, and the end result is a loss of vision. The same thing can occur in certain inflammatory conditions, in which fluid can accumulate beneath the retina without any hole or tear.
Age-related retinal detachment can occur in anyone as they age. The vitreous changes in consistency, becomes more liquid and shrinks. The vitreous eventually detaches in a condition called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) or vitreous collapse. A tear eventually happens and fluid leaks behind the retina, leading to progressive retinal detachment. Posterior vitreous detachment can cause flashes of sparkling lights when in a darkened room or have your eyes closed.
Factors that increase the risk of retinal detachment include the following:
- Age—it is a more common disease in those over forty
- Previous retinal detachment
- Family history of retinal detachment
- Extreme nearsightedness
- Previous severe eye injury
- Previous eye disease or disorder
The eye doctor can determine what’s going on by using an ophthalmoscope to see the back of the eye. If the doctor can’t confirm it with an ophthalmoscope, an ultrasound test can be used to see whether or not there is a tear or detachment of the retina.
Retinal detachment is best treated with surgery to put the retina back against the layer that is providing it with the proper nutrients and oxygen. If there is a tear but no detachment the doctor may do laser surgery that welds the retina to the underlying tissue. Cryosurgery is another type of surgery that freezes the hole that has occurred in the retina so a scar forms that doesn’t leak fluid.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers
The medical profession which includes doctors, nurses and hospital technicians usually provides a caring service with a high standard of excellence however there are occasions when things do go wrong. Our litigation service is completely free and our lawyers will deal with your case using a contingency fee arrangement which means that if you don’t succeed in receiving a financial settlement then your retina detachment lawyer won't get paid.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here