Retinal urgent eye problems
Retinal detachment is an urgent eye problem requiring rapid assessment and treatment. If you have had a shower of floaters, with some flashing lights or notice a shadow in part of your vision, you may have had a retinal detachment. This sight-threatening disease has to be recognised and treated early because if the most sensitive part of the retina, called the macula, detaches then it could be more difficult to improve the vision and get it back to normal. However, if the retinal detachment is small and peripherally it can either be treated with surgery or laser. It is a good idea to detect a retinal detachment early and avoid unnecessary loss of vision.
I once had a patient who had been in Germany on Friday and got floaters then blurred vision. He flew back to London Monday without first going to an Eye Doctor in Germany, and by the time he arrived at Clinica London, the retina was almost fully detached. The moral of the story is to see an eye doctor if you have these signs of retinal detachment.
Some patients are more prone to a retinal detachment than others. Mainly, it is those who have had previous blunt or penetrating trauma, who are highly sighted (myopic) and who have problems with their collagen, so their eye tissues are more delicate.
In ophthalmology, there are many sub-specialities, and one of them is called vitreoretinal surgery. At Clinica London, we are happy to see patients who are concerned that they may have had a retinal detachment based on their symptoms. We are also happy to assess them and then direct them to a vitreoretinal surgeon who can treat them surgically, or to one of our medical retina specialists who can treat them with a laser.
If just a small retinal hole is found, it is amenable to laser. If no retinal hole is found, but there are strong symptoms suggestive that something is happening and changing in the eye with flashes and floaters, then the patient needs to be examined several times over about six weeks to check that they are not developing a small retinal detachment.
Other urgent retinal problems include distortion and blurring of central vision from wet ageing macular degeneration, from post cataract macular oedema, from diabetic macular oedema, and from central serous retinopathy in young adults. Sudden blurred vision or visual loss can occur with any of the above, plus with retinal vein or artery occlusion, or even glaucoma.
The retinal specialist will take a history from you, examine the vision, the eye pressure, the lens of the eye, the transparent vitreous gel, the macula, and the rest of the retina. Their clinical examination is helped by doing retinal imaging with the OCT and SLO machines, done by the nurses in the Clinica London Technical Room.
Our Medical Retinal Specialists are Mr Jaheed Khan and Professor Michel Michaelides, both from Moorfields Eye Hospital. They will be pleased to examine and advise you if you think you have a retinal problem, from whatever cause. They are experienced Retinal Specialists at Clinica London on Mondays and Thursdays.