Arvind Gopu's home on the web!

What's this page about?

Having suffered a retinal detachment back in spring 2006, and having got surgical treatment for it, I'd like to share links to resourceful webpages that I found extremely useful in dealing with my RD.

I hope you find this useful, if you'd like to drop me a line, my contact info is here. If you'd like to read in particular about my experience with RD, then go to my Retinal Detachment - My Experience page.

Table of Contents

Do me a favor, will ya?

If you are highly myopic (a.k.a. short-sighted -- do you wear glasses with high negative prescription?) or highly astigmatic, or both, then please, please, please go get your eyes checked today, and at least once a year. You could save your vision, for all you know! You could also do simple tests at home, I've outlined some of them in a section below.
Also, if you know someone who's in the above category of people, please pass this link along to them. Thank you and best wishes!

Obvious Disclaimer

I personally found links I've added on this page useful; Similarly, I found the things I did, when I suffered a detached retina and following my surgery, useful. Your mileage may vary. Contact your doctor if you suspect something is not right!


Retinal Detachment: Things to watch out for

Floaters and Flashes (in one's vision)

Eye Floaters and Spots: Very nice explanation of symptoms with an image of what floaters may appear like (or feel like); and what causes them.
Floaters and Flashers: Another nice article with explanation of the 2 F's.
Eye floaters: Do they indicate a serious problem?: An article from MayoClinic's Ask an Eye Specialist section.

Retinal Holes / Lattice (diagnosis by eye specialist)

Lattice Degeneration: Thinning and weakening of the retina that can lead to retinal tears.

Author's comments:

  • Some things to keep an eye on is diagnosis by your vision care specialist during regular eye exams; have you been diagnosed with weak areas in the retina? or retinal holes? or lattice (degeneration)?
  • Depending on family history, degree of myopia, etc. one might be better off getting LASER or Freeze-sealing (Cyropexy) treatment of retinal holes and lattice. I was one of those case who would have benefitted from earlier treatment of lattice, but my eye care specialist did not initially recommend such treatment .. and ultimately I ended up having a detachment. If you're in doubt, please ask your eye doctor or surgeon!


Retinal Detachment: The whole nine yards

Retinal Detachment (MayoClinic) : Introduction, Signs & Symptoms, Causes, Screening, Treating, Coping, etc. Excellent read for comprehensive RD information. If you'd like print all sections on paper, before reading it .. then click on this printable version. (Highly recommended read by a friend who has a degree in Optometry and is soon going get a doctoral degree on physiological optics!)
Retinal Detachment Resource Guide [NEI Health Information] : Succinct page about symptoms, types of RD, info about who's at risk, treatment options, so forth.
Retinal Detachment on Wikipedia: Usual Warning -- As always, take information on the Wikipedia with a pinch of salt -- wikis have a wealth of information but they may also quite often have misleading information! I am actually contemplating removal of this link, especially after this showed how corporate giants are messing with wikipedia. Should I?

Who can get RD? When?

This is text my friend SR -- who has a degree in Optometry and is soon going get a doctoral degree on physiological optics -- sent me, I've reproduced her bullet list verbatim (a comment or two in parenthesis from myself).

  • Retinal Detachment can sometimes happen all of a sudden without any warning. (Case in point: Yours truly)
  • RD is also a differential diagnosis for another conditions and also neurological conditions that can manifest in the eye. So someone might be in for other conditions like glaucoma, neuritis, etc. which may sometimes present with symptoms similar to RD.
  • RD can occur in combination with other conditions, and can rarely occur in the presence of no short sightedness. Indeed depending on the shape of the eye it can occur even in people with plus power although it is quite rare.
  • RD can occur in much younger children, and it's a good idea to watch out in children whose parents have high myopia, since those children have an extremely good chance of developing high myopia. Children also tend to participate in harder sports which is a risk condition.

The National Eye Institute's RD webpage also has some info on this.

Treating Retinal Detachments

Retinal Detachment: Treatment (MayoClinic again) : Same page as the one you would have landed if you click on "Treatment" on the above MayoClinic link in the Floaters section.
Surgical Treatment Options for RD: Excellent description of the treatment options if one suffers RD.
Scleral Buckling specifically: Description, Images, After-care, etc.


Personal Experiences

A Story of Retinal Detachment: Excellent site by Jim Lawton about his RD and treatment experience -- with images and animations illustrating shadows, floaters, what a gas bubble does to your vision temporarily, so forth. Highly Recommended: Go read it NOW!
My Own Experience: My notes are not as detailed as Jim's (above link) but feel free to check it out, hope it helps.


Simple Home Tests to catch symptoms of RD early

From what I've read, 5% of the general population are at high risk for a retinal detachment. That's a simplistic statistic, of course ... not factoring age group, etc. Among that 5%, a much smaller group of unlucky ones (about 5% of that group) is supposed to actually suffer from RD in their lifetime. If you're in the high risk group -- most obvious characteristic: American football shaped eyes, due to high myopia and/or astigmatism -- then you might benefit greatly by doing some simple tests on your vision -- both central macular vision and peripheral vision. I've attempted to list a few of the tests I've found useful.

Amsler Grid Test

At the very least, I personally recommend, you print an Amsler grid from the web, and test your vision every day (say, when you wake up every morning). It's simple, takes less than half a minute, and could save your vision -- especially if you're in the high risk group (for RDs) of people.

All you've gotta do is, stand about a foot from the print out (of the Amsler grid), and stare at the center dot with one eye (while the other is closed); do the lines surrounding the dot look straight? Does the outside border look like a square? Any skews? Any bends? Any part of the grid not visible at all? If it appears just like a bunch of concentric squares in your peripheral vision, then your vision is probably ok.

Computer Screen Peripheral vision test

This is what saved my vision, or rather this is how I first noticed my retina starting to detach.

Preferably with a bright color filling the entire screen (At the least, an empty browser window or a terminal window would suffice; or you could set your desktop color to white :-)), sit about a foot from the screen, and stare at the center of the screen: can you see the entire screen on the periphery of your vision? All 4 sides? Does it look perfectly rectangular, or do you notice any skews, or any shadows in the peripheral vision?

Peripheral vision testing on a large mirror

Another form of test of vision, I've personally found very useful is, using a bathroom mirror, assuming it's a fairly large one.

  • Stand about 1 1/2 feet in front of the mirror
  • Close your left eye using your right hand
  • With your right eye, stare at the diagonal center of the mirror
  • Then move the index finger of your left hand along the border of the mirror, and check if you can see it moving (while continuing to stare at the center of the mirror).
I find this test very useful, though I don't do it as often as I should. Also, don't forget to read about blind spot especially if you're not aware of it.

Michael Grobe's Pencil method (requires Herculean concentration!)

This is a method my friend Michael uses to keep track of how good his peripheral vision is. His method reproduced verbatim, don't blame me if it's too complex :-)

I should mention that I put an X in the (landscape) bottom-middle of a piece of paper, hold the paper on a wall so that I can put my nose on the X, put another X right in front of my right eye, and then stare at it while using a pencil to trace out the extent of my peripheral vision. this requires Herculean concentration, but, what can I say....


Drugs, Medication To Avoid

I have been asked to avoid any medication that is a steroid or contains steroids. If you are in a hospital for medical treatment, ensure you inform the nurses/doctors about it.

Watch out! Because common cold relief medicines like DayQuil/NyQuil, and most of the cough suppresants have an ingredient called Dextromethorphan which is, I've learnt, a steroid. If you are in doubt, google!


Other Eye Related stuff

The Blind Spot!

Blind Spots: If you're like me, and check your vision ever so often (using an Amsler grid, etc.) then you need to be aware of blind spots in the human eye. This website (among others) proved to be useful for me in understanding them, with excellent images and explanations.

Glaucoma

Guide to Glaucoma: Explains cup, disc, C/D ratio, etc.; and describes Glaucoma in details. Excellent read, especially for diabetics.
Glaucoma and C/D: Chat transcript about C/D ratio and Glaucoma.

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration - Information from the Mayoclinic: Extensive information about MD -- types, risk factors, treatment, etc.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration - Information from NEI: Also has extensive information about MD from National Eye Institute
Common Macular problems: Includes informartion about age-related macular de-generation, cellophane maculopathy, so forth.

Misc

Visual Acuity: Information about visual acuity -- what the hell is 20/20 vision? -- From Answers.com Health, definition and a bit more.
Glossary of Eye Care terms: Need I say more? :-)