Retinal Trauma: Three Things to Do
Every year, millions of people around the world experience some kind of eye injury. In cases of blunt force trauma to the eye, these injuries can sometimes cause retinal tears or detachment, which is a medical emergency that can lead to permanent vision loss.
Retinal tears and detachment from blunt force trauma typically occur while the person is playing sports. One famous example is boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard, whose legendary career was disrupted by a detached retina in 1982. Leonard’s retinal detachment was likely caused by repeated blunt force trauma in the ring. After noticing a sudden increase in floaters in his vision during training, Leonard saw a doctor and underwent surgery a few days later. By acting quickly, he was able to prevent permanent vision loss.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms following an eye injury, you should be like Sugar Ray Leonard and seek medical attention immediately:
- Decreased or total loss of vision (central or peripheral)
- Inability to focus or difficulty with focusing
- Pain and/or swelling
- An increase in flashes and/or floaters
- A “shadow” over your field of vision
Many of these symptoms are signs of a torn or detached retina. If addressed quickly, these injuries can be repaired and, potentially, full or partial vision can be restored. However, a delay in diagnosis and treatment can worsen symptoms and decrease the chances of a full recovery. If you’ve recently had an eye injury and are concerned about retinal trauma, here are three things you should do.
1. Schedule an Appointment With an Eye Doctor
While the symptoms of retinal tear and detachment are usually pretty obvious, not everyone who has retinal trauma will have the same symptoms. If you’ve experienced blunt force trauma to the eye, you may be wondering if you need to see a doctor, especially if you’re not experiencing intense symptoms. Regardless of how serious your symptoms are, it’s always strongly advised that you make an appointment with an eye doctor if an eye injury has taken place. If you have a sudden proliferation of flashes and floaters, you should seek emergency medical help.
2. Try to Avoid Eye Strain Whenever Possible Prior to the Appointment
Using electronic devices like tablets, e-readers, and cell phones causes eye strain on even the healthiest of eyes, especially if these devices are used for long periods of time throughout the course of each day. If you are experiencing symptoms of a torn or detached retina, it’s best to let your eyes rest as much as possible.
3. Protect Your Eye as Much as Possible
Eyes are already fragile organs without the threat of retinal trauma. Before your appointment, it’s important to keep your eye as stable and safe as possible. This is not the time to be outdoors without sunglasses, work on home projects, or play high-contact sports. Your eye needs to be kept safe so as not to exacerbate any possible trauma or cause symptoms to worsen.
Retinal Tear and Detachment Care in Long Island and Queens
At Vitreoretinal Consultants of NY, we provide advanced, emergency care for retinal tears and detachments. Our physicians are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you suspect that you have a detached retina, contact us immediately and we will schedule an appointment for you as soon as possible.