• Could my detached right retina be sending signals to my brain, causing spots in my vision?


    Question:

    I had retinal detachments in both eyes separated by six months, due to PVD. Left eye was thankfully 100% repaired with buckle and vitrectomy. Right eye underwent six surgeries due to recurrent detachment and the retina now remains mostly detached (and will stay that way until technology improves). The vision in right eye is getting dimmer and dimmer as the months go on, as one would expect. However, something disturbing is happening with my vision. I am finding that even with my right eye closed, the visual field in my left eye is "blotchy." To explain further, if I fixate on an object, within a second, grey/scintillating blotches fade in and out of my vision pretty randomly (but mostly nasal and lower half of vision, sometimes central). The doctor said there's absolutely nothing wrong with my left retina, but I am very concerned because this problem is not going away. It's not a migraine aura either, because I have no headache and the effect happens 24/7. My question is, could my detached right retina, which is billowing around in my eye, be sending electrical signals to my visual cortex that my brain is getting confused by, causing this? If I close my left eye I do seem to see blotches and shimmering in my right eye, but it's really hard to correlate the location to determine if indeed the right eye is causing the visual issues. Has anyone heard of this happening in people with a permanently detached retina? If so, will it improve over time as the detached retinal cells die? Would patching the bad eye permanently help? I know that the optic nerve in the right eye can be disabled with an alcohol injection, might this be a solution if the problem doesn't go away?


    Answer:

    When patients have suffered significant vision loss in one of their eyes, it is not uncommon for them to experience a variety of visual symptoms that may disturb or confuse the vision in the healthy eye. Some patients find this is helped by patching the worse eye or putting frosted tape on the spectacle over that eye. In many cases, this can become less bothersome over time. While alcohol injections can disable optic nerve function in the worse eye, there are side effects from this treatment such that it is rarely performed these days.


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