30. August 2011 13:30
Retinal detachments can present with a variety of symptoms. Today, a middle age near-sighted woman called our office with new symptoms and my office staff wisely fit her into my schedule. She described some recent floaters or black dots in her vision. Upon questioning, she also mentioned that in the dark she noticed a few flashing lights. In addition, there was an area in the lower part of her vision which she felt was shaded out. I told her that these symptoms could be a retinal problem but lets proceed with the exam to determine the exact cause.
Her exam actually showed 20/20 vision with her contact lenses. The evaluation of the posterior part of the eye demonstrated a retinal tear and partial retinal detachment in the superior portion of the retina which represents the lower part of the vision just as she described. The center part of her retina (macula) was uninvolved at this point which is a good prognostic sign. We immediately referred her to a retinal specialist for treatment which probably will involve laser and surgery. Due to her not ignoring her symptoms and my staff being in tune to the importance of her symptoms, she was diagnosed early and I expect her to have a positive outcome.
Many patients develop floaters and never have a retinal problem. However, early detection is the key for a vision saving scenario. If you develop new floater symptoms, contact your eye care professional promptly for evaluation to rule out a more severe problem.
Remember, protect those eyes!!