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3 Things Athletes Need To Know About Retinal Detachment

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While you're playing sports, you can suffer a wide variety of injuries, including eye injuries. One potentially sight-threatening eye injury you may experience is retinal detachment. Here are three things you need to know about retinal detachment.

How does retinal detachment happen?

Retinal detachment can occur following trauma to the head during sports, like being tackled on the football field. The impact of the trauma makes your eyeball rapidly compress and decompress, and in some cases, this can produce enough force to pull your vitreous (filling of your eye) away from your retina. As the vitreous pulls away, the retina can tear, and if the vitreous continues pulling, the retina can fully detach.

The scary thing about retinal detachment is that it doesn't always happen immediately. Months or years after suffering a blow to the head during sports, your retina can detach. This is why it's important for you to get regular eye exams, even if you think your eyes are fine. 

What are the symptoms?

Retinal detachment isn't painful, but it causes a lot of distressing symptoms that serve as a warning that something is wrong. For example, you might notice that you have a lot of floaters in your vision or that you see visual disturbances like flashing lights. 

You may also experience partial vision loss. Sufferers describe this vision loss as a dark curtain coming across the eye, and as the detachment gets worse, more of your vision will be blocked. 

Can it be treated?

If you develop retinal detachment, you'll need surgery to have it corrected. Usually, vitrectomy is performed. This procedure involves drawing out the fluid from within your eye, and then replacing it with a gas bubble. This bubble will hold your retina against the back of your eye while it heals.

After your surgery, you'll be told to keep your head in a certain position while you heal. This is to keep the bubble in place. Your doctor will tell you what position to maintain as well as how long you need to maintain this position for.

The gas bubble will eventually be absorbed, but until it does, you won't be able to travel by air, and of course, sports will be out of the question. Once the bubble has absorbed and your retina has healed, you can resume your regular activities, like flying to your games.

If you think you have retinal detachment, see an optometrist immediately. To find out more, speak with a business like Midwest Eye Care PC.