Hi

I hope this is the appropriate place to post this. if not I'm sure one of the mods will be kind enough to move it. I don't think this has been covered before (apologies if it has) but you may find it helpful.

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I recently had a bit of a scare regarding my eye with a suspected detached retina. Luckily it turned out to be nothing too problematic (posterior vitreous detachment) but the eye doctor gave me some good tips that I thought I'd share with you.

Firstly a bit of background.

I'd noticed a sort of 'dangly' thing towards the top of the view from my right eye. Imagine a sort of semi transparent thread that sways when you move your head and you've got the idea.

Applying my philosophy that 'chicks dig scars etc.' and most things usually sort themselves out I ignored it.

A classmate however suggested it might be symptomatic of a detached retina. I went to the eye doctor and, after a battery of tests, he confirmed it was instead a 'posterior vitreous detachment' (PVD).

Now that's not a big problem (more of an inconvenience) but he emphasised that a detached retina (DR) *IS* something to be concerned about.

So what's the difference?

Well, basically the retina is the layer around the back and sides of your eye that is responsible for intercepting photons and therefore allowing you to see. The vitreous is the ball of liquid/jelly (depending on how old you are) inside your eye. That is also attached to your retina.

As we get older the vitreous eventually peels away from the eye wall/retina. As it does so you get bits of debris. It's these bits that appear as floaty 'cobwebs'. Unlike other floaters that are loose, these bits are sometimes still attached and so seem to stay in the same place; although they can swing around a bit and sometimes move outside your vision. Eventually they either become detached entirely and sink to the bottom of your eye and/or your brain learns to ignore them.

PVD happens to just about everyone eventually but it can come on early as a result of head or eye trauma; so it's very common with rugby players and boxers. (Being myopic above 6 diopters is also a risk factor).

It's nothing to worry about and there's no need to stop training. In fact my eye doctor turned out to be a bit of a Jui Jitsu fan but now wants to come to Krav; so I find that very reassuring. He even suggested I could speed up the process of detachment by getting a few more blows to the head.

So that's PVD. The symptoms are: floaty 'cobweb' like structures in your vision, extra 'floaters' generally, intermittent flashes of light; especially in your peripheral vision. It's important to note that symptoms vary. Some people with PVD might not even notice anything.

However these symptoms can also be a sign of DR and that's VERY serious. If it's caught early enough surgery and/or laser treatment might alleviate some of the damage and save your sight but even that's less than perfect.

In a DR the retina tears away from the eyewall. If it comes off completely you're pretty much buggered. Once there's an initial tear you might only have hours at the most to get seen to. So even if you've just got extra floaters and/or the flashing lights get checked out asap.

The key thing to keep an eye out for (pun not intended) is a sort of 'veil' effect moving across your vision; like a curtain being drawn. That means the retina is actually coming away.

Best thing to do is to lie flat on your back (so gravity holds the retina in place) and get someone to take you to a decent eye hospital immediately.

DRs are very rare, even for fighters and having PVD doesn't increase the risk of DR significantly but if you do have any of the symptoms above best get checked out just to be on the safe side.

Hope this is of some assistance.

Al
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People who beat their swords into ploughshares end up ploughing for people who didn't.