Causes, Signs, and Alternative Retinal Detachment Treatments
Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition where the layer of cells at the back of the eye separates from the layer underneath. It is a severe condition, and if left untreated, the complete loss of vision may occur.
Detached retina affects approximately 5 in 100,000 people per year. It is more frequent in the middle-aged and elderly population; males are usually more affected than females.
The long-term prognosis depends on the detachment duration and whether the macula is also detached. If it is treated before the macular detachment, the outcomes are usually good.
After reading this post, you will become familiar with symptoms, causes, and the most effective natural treatments available, including acupuncture, Micro acupuncture, and Chinese herbal therapy.
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Michael Woodworth M.S. L.AC, DIP. OMC from Makari Wellness is extensively trained in Chinese Herbal Medicine and licensed acupuncturist with more than 15 years of experience.
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What is Retinal Detachment?
Before the in-depth explanation of retinal detachment, it is essential to mention the retina and its function.
The retina is the innermost, light-sensitive layer of nerve tissue of the eye. It processes light through a layer of photoreceptor cells and sends the information to the brain via the optic nerve. Basically, the retina processes the picture from the focused light, so the brain can decide what the image is.
When that specific layer of cells lifts away from the back of the eye, the retinal detachment occurs. It is a serious problem, often leading to the loss of the sight in the affected eye. So it has to be examined by the ophthalmologist right away and treated quickly to stop it permanently affecting your vision.
Types of Retinal Detachment
There are 3 different types of retinal detachment:
- Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment – the most common type. It happens because of the retinal tear. Retinal tear symptoms are usually the same as those of retinal detachment. It happens due to aging, eye injury, surgery, or nearsightedness. The vitreous gel that fills the eyeball collects under the retina, pulling it away from the underlying tissue.
- Tractional retinal detachment – happens because the scar tissue pulls on the retina due to diabetes, which damages the blood vessels in the back of the eye.
- Exudative retinal detachment – this type of retinal detachment happens because the fluid builds up behind the retina but without the tear. Some common causes are leaking blood vessels, severe inflammation, injury, or age-related macular degeneration.
Retinal Detachment Causes
Some common causes include:
- Eye surgery;
- Eye infections;
- Injury or trauma to your eye;
- Eye tumors;
- Rare eye disorder called Coats disease;
- Extreme nearsightedness called degenerative myopia;
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Who Is At Risk for Retinal Detachment?
This condition can happen to anyone, but some retinal detachment risk factors include:
- If you have had a severe eye injury;
- If you of a family member has had a retinal detachment before;
- If you have had eye surgery, like cataract-removal surgery.
Signs of Detached Retina
Retinal detachment signs happen without warning, and the condition itself is painless. However, as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms, you should call the ophthalmologist:
- A gray curtain covering part of your field vision;
- Floaters that can look like specks, cobwebs, or lines in your field of vision;
- A shadow in your peripheral vision;
- Photopsia – seeing flashing lights all of a sudden;
- Blurry vision;
- A heavy feeling in the eye;
- Straight lines start to appear curved.
Related Articles to Retinal Detachment:
- Non-surgical Treatment of Eye Cataract
- Everything You Need to Know About Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Glaucoma Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention
- Diabetic Retinopathy Definition, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
- Cause, Symptoms, and Treatment of Macular Dystrophy
- The Most Effective Natural Treatments of Myopia
- Macular Degeneration: Definition, Symptoms, and Treatments
Retinal Detachment Treatment
As far as traditional medicine is concerned, there are several methods of detached retina treatment. However, all of them include the same general principles – finding all the breaks, sealing all the brakes, and relieving present (and future) vitreoretinal traction.
- Laser surgery or photocoagulation where the laser beam burns around the retinal tear, resulting in scar tissue that fuses the tissue back together.
- Cryotherapy, or freezing, is applying extreme cold to destroy the abnormal tissue. It also forms the scar that helps to connect the retina to the eyewall.
- Scleral buckle surgery, where the surgeon sews one or more silicone bands to the sclera (white part of the eyeball), so the bands push the eyewall inward against the retinal hole. This way, the retina is allowed to re-attach.
- Vitrectomy involves removing the vitreous gel and replacing it with either a gas bubble or silicone oil. Using the gas bubble, it is absorbed within a few weeks. On the other hand, silicone oil must be removed after some period.
- Pneumatic Retinopexy is a procedure where your ophthalmologist puts a bubble of gas inside your eyeball. This pushes the retina into place so it can heal properly. After the intervention, you need to keep your head in a specific position to keep the bubble in the right place. As the eye heals, the body makes the fluid that will fill the eye and replace the air bubble.
Alternative Treatments of Retinal Detachment
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), most eye disorders are connected to Qi and blood deficiency. Qi is the body’s vital energy that flows through meridians – energy pathways throughout the entire human body. Acupoints are located on the meridians; they represent bundles of energy that can be easily accessed.
Any imbalance of the internal organs leads to eye disease. The eyes are connected to the liver and kidneys. The visual ability mainly relies on the nourishment of liver blood. Therefore, the eyes can reflect the function of the liver. Additionally, all internal organs nourish the eyes, and all meridians run through the eyes and can all impact healthy vision if it is out of balance.
Retinal detachment is caused by depletion in the kidney. Although the eyes are the orifices associated with the liver, they are tied to kidneys as their ruler. Therefore, when the kidney is depleted, the eyesight will become dim.
Acupuncture for Retinal Detachment
Acupuncture is a procedure of inserting thin needles through the skin into the specific acupuncture points to treat the disease – it triggers spontaneous healing reactions in the body. Many acupoints are located around the orbits (the bones) that surround the eyeballs. Some of them are:
- Urinary Bladder 1 (or Jingming) lies where the inner corner of the eye meets the nose. The best acupoint together with UB2 for all eye problems from conjunctivitis to blurred vision.
- Urinary Bladder 2 (or Zanzhu) lies in the depression at the inner ends of the eyebrows.
- Gall Bladder 1 (or Tongziliao) lies in the cavities on the outside corners of the eye sockets. Suitable for eye problems, including early-stage cataracts, photophobia, and blurred vision.
- Stomach 1 (or Chengqi) lies directly below the pupil on the infraorbital ridge bone. It is the main acupoint for all eye problems.
The goal of acupuncture is to restore balance and health by manipulating the flow of Qi. When you undergo the treatment, any imbalance that that may be causing symptoms will be addressed. It is focused on promoting blood and Qi circulation around the eyes.
Acupuncture can boost overall visual acuity, reduce or eliminate eye floaters, reduce sensitivity to light, reduce blurred vision, heal swollen and painful eyes.
Micro Acupuncture 48 is the gold standard in ophthalmic acupuncture. It involves 48 acupuncture points located only in palms and soles. Responses vary widely from patient to patient, but it has had many positive and measurable clinical results with increased eye blood flow and stimulating healing.
Chinese Herbal Therapy for Retinal Detachment
Our eyes are prone to outside interferences with either environmental toxic substances or internal illnesses causing distress. Still, any natural remedy should be taken seriously because it is not a ‘quick fix.’ Patience and perseverance must be two dominant traits that will lead to better vision outcomes.
Your Chinese herbalist will combine the herbs with various therapeutic properties to create a unique formula for your eye problem. Some of the most common are:
- Chrysanthemum flower – clears the floaters and blurred vision;
- Gingko Biloba – contains antioxidants that protect nerve cells and improves blood flow to the retina.
- Buddleia flower bud – improves sensitivity to light.
- Coleus – rich in forskolin, a substance that reduces the production of fluid in the eye.
- Goji Berry – corrects blurred vision and vision loss.
Retinal Detachment Prevention
Although there is no way to prevent retinal detachment, there are some things you can do or avoid to decrease the chance of retinal detachment occurrence.
Suppose there is a retinal detachment within your family. In that case, you should have regular visits to the eye doctor – the doctor will notice the early signs of retinal detachment and react quickly in order to avoid permanent consequences. Your diabetes should be under control, and you should avoid any eye or head trauma.
A healthy lifestyle implies healthy nutrition with plenty of vitamin C, E, A, minerals like Zinc, Copper, and antioxidants like Lutein and Zeaxanthin.