Notes: Retinal Detachment

1. If you are really, really near sighted (6+ diopters), you have a 5% chance of retinal detachment. This kind is common ages 25-40. Retinal detachment in both eyes not very common. If one retina detaches there is a 15% chance of the other detaching. (If you are working the odds, you probably want to weigh in the odds that the 1st retinal detachment can be repaired, which is 90%, so the odds of complete blindness when the patient is able to get immediate treatment is … 6 in 10000 if my math is correct. If one is not so clever and can’t recognize when it is time to get to an ophthalmologist and get it repaired, then the odds are 7 in 1000, if my math is correct.) 2. Symptoms: Photic flashes (flashes of light) and more seriously, floaters, those little floating specs. (follow link to get official descriptions of the phenomenon) 3. Prevention: Don’t let anything whack you in the eyes. The most important thing is to realize it is happening if and when it happens. It is an emergency that requires immediate treatment. 4. Treatment: 90% of retinal detachments can be fixed. From the common statement that retinal detachment is a time sensitive emergency, it must mean that success is higher for earlier treatment. 5. Action: Pick out an ophthalmologist (not an optometrist) near where you live and where you work, where you can go on a moments notice if you see a sudden increase of floaters.

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