Feelings of Detachment
Behind the retina resides a layer of tiny blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients. Retinal detachment results from a separation of the retina from this layer of blood vessels. In most cases, retinal detachment is associated with a tear in the retina caused by trauma or age-related changes in the vitreous fluid. In the latter case, the vitreous may shrink enough as we age to exert sufficient tugging force on the retina to create a tear. At that point, vitreous fluid seeps through the tear, collects under the retina, and lifts it away from underlying tissues. Patients should be alerted by symptoms such as blurred vision, floaters, and flashing lights to seek immediate treatment for detachment.
Rubbing the Wrong Way
Among the tiniest and most delicate muscles in the human body is the “levator palpebrae superioris,” which raises the upper eyelid. It attaches to the upper lid with the help of a very thin band of tendinous tissue known as the “levator aponeurosis.” It is the age-related degeneration of this aponeurotic tissue that can lead to the drooping eyelids that so many older people experience. While vigorous rubbing of the eyelid is not a primary factor in causing it to droop, the habit may aggravate the condition. Therefore, if you must rub your eye, try to avoid rubbing the eyelid itself. Instead, try to rub the eyebrow or the skin over the cheekbone just under the eye.
–William S. Mayo, DO is a double board certified ophthalmologist who has been practicing in Oxford, Mississippi since 1990 and is the owner of Mayo Eye Center. He has also been a member of the American Osteopathic Association Board of Trustees since 2007.