Medical problems involving the eyes are very common. Retinal detachment is a serious condition that is exactly as it sounds: the retina detaches from the normal position of the eye. When the problem is left untreated, the person is at risk of permanent blindness in the eye that is affected. If you begin to experience symptoms of the condition, it’s imperative to see an ophthalmologist for treatment.
What are the Warning Signs of Retinal Detachment?
Although retinal detachment is actually painless, there are warning signs that occur that you should never ignore. They include the following:
- Blurry vision
- Flashes of light in the eye or eyes
- A shadow that is curtain-like over your field of vision
- A gradual reduction of peripheral vision
- Multiple floaters suddenly appearing in your vision
It’s important to know that this is a medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. Failing to get treatment in a timely manner can spell the end of your vision in the affected eye. Your vision loss can be permanent as well. Retinal surgery is a type of treatment that can help to preserve your vision. If you are scheduled for this type of surgery, there are certain steps you must take beforehand to prepare.
Preparing for Retinal Surgery
Before your retinal surgery, your doctor will advise you to do certain things or advise you to avoid certain things. It’s important to carefully follow the doctor’s orders so that your surgery can be successful. Not following the instructions can result in your surgery not being successful or in complications arising after it is completed.
Continue Taking Certain Medications
Generally speaking, if you take any medications for thinning your blood due to circulation problems, you should always continue taking them leading up to your retinal surgery. Blood thinners are essential in preventing heart attacks and strokes. They also ensure that your blood is properly circulated throughout your body. Continue taking your blood thinners.
The only exception to this rule is if the doctor believes that your risk of heart attack or stroke is very low or if you are at a higher risk of developing blood clots.
Stop Taking Diabetes Medications
If you have diabetes, you should stop taking your medication for it on the morning of your scheduled retinal surgery if your doctor has instructed you so.
Avoid Eye Drops Before Surgery
Avoid using eye drops prior to your retinal surgery. Although doctors frequently prescribe antibiotic eye drops prior to cataract surgery, retinal surgery is different. Cataract surgery carries a greater risk of eye infection, but that risk is minimal with retinal surgery.
No Food the Night Before Your Surgery
You should also avoid eating any foods the night before your retinal surgery. In most cases, this means you should avoid eating anything past midnight on the same day of surgery. You are allowed to drink clear fluids. Water, tea and coffee are acceptable. However, you should avoid having coffee with creamer. If you must drink coffee, it should be black.
Retinal Surgery Options
In some cases, you may not yet have experienced an actual retinal detachment. Before this happens, there may be a small tear or hole. This is often a precursor to retinal detachment and can be repaired with surgery. There are two types of treatment options available, including the following:
- Laser surgery: This type of surgery is also known as photocoagulation and involves the use of a laser beam through the pupil to repair the tissue within the retinal tear.
- Freezing: Also known as cryopexy, this procedure is performed using local anesthesia and a freezing probe to the retinal tear to secure the retina.
There are also procedures available to correct retinal detachment. They include the following:
- Air or gas injection: Pneumatic retinopexy involves injecting air or gas into the eye to repair the retina and allow it to stick to the eye’s wall. A bubble develops to repair the eye and hold it in the proper position. Over time, the bubble absorbs.
- Indenting the eye’s surface: Scleral buckling is a surgical procedure in which the doctor sews a piece of silicone to the affected part of the eye to repair the retina.
- Vitrectomy: This procedure involves the removal of fluid in the eye that is causing retinal detachment. It is sometimes used in combination with scleral buckling to repair the retina.
It’s important to carefully follow your doctor’s instructions. This can ensure your retinal surgery is a success.