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Retinal Break – An Insight

Retinal Break – An Insight

The ‘Retina Day’ has passed recently and despite being one of the common eye issues, very few know about retinal break. In a laymen’s term, retina is made up of different layers—sensory layer, middle layer and an innermost layer that contain photoreceptors, nerve cells and ganglion cells that exchange nerve impulses through optic nerve.

Located at the Retinal Pigment Epithelial (RPE), the function of retina is to retrieve the light focused by the lens and convert it into neutral signals and send it back to the brain for visual recognition. The light is processed through a layer of photoreceptor cells that are sensitive to color and light intensity . This information is sent to the brain that detects and decide what to do with this information. Since, retina plays a pivotal role, any damage, harm or issue can cause permanent blindness.

Retinal Detachment

The condition wherein retina gets detached from its original position, inhibiting it to perform its regular function of receiving and processing light is termed as retinal detachment. The round contour of the eye is because of the gel-like vitreous body (almost 80%) in the eye which is connected loosely to the retinal surface. This vitreous contracts with age and hence, breaks the retina creating a retinal hole. This leads to the seepage of fluid through the break that results in separation from the underlying RPE. The process is termed as Rhegmatogenous Retinal Break.

Causes of Retinal Break

People with vitreous hemorrhage are at higher risk of posterior vitreous detachment. Various factors that lead to retinal break are-

  • Different conditions leading to degeneration of peripheral retina
  • Injury/trauma to the eye
  • Eye surgery
  • Advanced diabetes
  • High myopia
  • Ageing related retinal tears

 Retinal Break- Types & Form

Retinal breaks can be peripheral or macular.

  • The peripheral breaks include operculated breaks where vitreous fibers are pulled off, creating a small hole.
  • Flap tears are characterized by a U-shaped or horse shoe tear in the back of the retina leading to fluid collection beneath the sensory layer.
  • The most common atrophic holes extend through the full thickness of the retina.

 Retinal Break- Symptoms

  • Loss of peripheral vision in a particular area
  • Floaters that drift through the field of vision
  • Flashes of light, blurred vision
  • Shadow on your visual field

Treatment & Procedures

Since, retinal breakage is a serious issue, it is of utmost importance to diagnose and avail the problem in the initial stages. Vitreous and posterior retina should be screened and diagnosed carefully as there are great chances that it might lead to retinal detachment and associated vision loss. Those with symptomatic flap tears are at greatest risk. The treatment depends upon the risk factors, severity of the symptoms and the type and location of the tear. Cryotherapy and photocoagulation are highly effective methods used to seal retina break by inducing fibrosis around the treated area.

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