DESCRIPTIONRetinal detachment is a separation or tear of the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) from the remainder of the eye. It requires immediate treatment! It affects all ages and both sexes but is more common in males than females.
Appropriate health care includes:
Doctor's (ophthalmologist's) treatment. This is an emergency!
Surgery to reattach the retina using special lasers or cryotherapy (See Glossary), or by changing the shape of the eye (sometimes).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSLight flashes in the field of vision.
Floating spots in the field of vision.
Wavy visual images (sometimes).
Gradual loss of vision. This may not be noticed because it is so gradual.
The following usually affect one eye, but sometimes both of the child's eyes are affected:
CAUSESExtreme nearsightedness (myopia).
Complications of eye surgery.
Inherited tendency (possibly).
Previous retinal detachment.
Family history of retinal detachment.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInstructions for your child:
Wear protective eye shields when participating in sports.
If you have diabetes mellitus or vascular disease, obtain medical treatment to control the disorder. See an opthalmologist at least once a year.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Without treatment: Partial or complete blindness in the affected eye.
With delayed treatment: Detachment that extends to the macula (the area of most detailed vision). This causes permanent loss of detailed (central) vision.
Often treatable with early surgical treatment using laser-beam surgery.
HOME CAREThe following instructions for your child apply after surgery:
Both eyes will be patched for a time. Your family and friends can help overcome this stress by providing companionship and assistance.
Use dark glasses after the patches are removed.
Don't rub your eyes.
Don't bend over.
Avoid straining, such as from constipation, heavy lifting, or harsh coughing. This may increase pressure in the eyes.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe:
--Mydriatic eye drops to dilate the pupil. Dilation reduces eye activity during healing. If your child cannot instill the drops, someone should be available to help at the appropriate times.
--Sedatives or tranquilizers to reduce anxiety during the child's convalescence.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
After surgery, your child should lie on the back in bed with the head elevated. Moving the legs frequently helps prevent blood clots from forming in deep veins. Your child can resume normal activities when your ophthalmologist considers it safe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Wait for clearance from your doctor.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has flashes or floating spots in the field of vision.
Any sign of infection (bleeding, redness, pain, swelling, or fever) occurs after surgery.
Your child's vision worsens after full recovery from surgery.