Retinal detachment is a sudden and unexpected condition that can happen to anyone. The retina , which is the thin nerve layer at the back of your eye, separates from the rest of the eye due to a hole in the retinal layer. People who are short-sighted (myopic) are at higher risk of retinal detachment.
My favorite chef had a retinal detachment.
One of my indulgences is fine dining. When I used to work in the UK, I would save up to have a meal with my wife once every few months at a Michelin starred restaurant. One of our favorite restaurants is Le Gavrouche in London whose chef Michel Roux Jr. is a culinary genius.
Imagine my surprise to discover that he had a retinal detachment in the past!
In the article, Michel asks if there was anything that he did to have caused this potentially blinding condition like running on hard pavements or knocking his head on something.
Myopia is Risk Factor for Retinal Detachment
While trauma can rarely cause a detachment, Michel’s detachment was most likely due to his preexisting myopia. He also had a family history which increased his risk. I am glad he was treated in Moorfields Eye Hospital, where I have had the privilege of working in the past.
It is absolutely crucial that retinal detachment be treated only by trained retinal surgeons as the first operation is the most crucial in determining how well the eye can see after surgery. Thankfully, he made a good recovery from surgery and is still cooking for the public.
Common Symptoms Include Flashes and Floaters
Retinal detachment is a disease that progresses very rapidly when it occurs. Usually, there are symptoms of floaters and flashing lights to alert the patient.
If there is a retinal hole present, early treatment with laser or cryotherapy can prevent detachment. I always examine the other eye of the patient as there are often undetected holes there that require treatment.
I recently diagnosed an early retinal detachment in the good eye of a myopic patient referred to me for problems in his other eye. He had surgery the same day and has managed to retain his vision.
In patients with conditions that have a high risk of developing retinal detachment like Stickler syndrome, I usually perform laser or cryotherapy treatment on the entire periphery of the retina of both eyes even though there is no retinal hole present.
This is controversial as some retinal specialists do not believe that this can prevent a detachment from occurring and that the laser scars themselves may cause retinal detachment when the vitreous jelly detaches later on and pulls on the scars.
Any patient who is myopic needs to get their retina checked if they have any symptoms of retina detachment. Myopic patients are 4 times more likely to get a retinal detachment.
Laser Treatment Can Reduce Chance of Detachment
I often treat with laser suspicious areas in the peripheral retina called lattice degeneration. This is not a retinal hole but an area of weakness in the retina that can develop retinal holes more easily that other places in the retina.
Laser treatment helps the retina stick on harder and may prevent holes from developing there.
Finally, there is no diet, supplements or eye exercises that can prevent retinal detachment. If you suffer from myopia or have a family history, you need to seek expert advice urgently if you have any of the symptoms of retinal detachment. Rest assured that modern eye surgery is very successful and 90% of patients have their retinal detachment fixed with just one operation.