Wizard Of Wallpaper
The blind spot in Dawn’s vision is gone, so she can clearly see her company’s financial documents.

The blind spot in Dawn’s vision is gone, so she can clearly see her company’s financial documents.

Specialist reconnects retinal detachment using nonsurgical procedure.

In June, Dawn Mogharnesi relocated from the Orlando area to Ormond Beach. She quickly found employment as a controller for Hudson Technologies, a leading manufacturer of specially made metal enclosures and stampings.

“As controller, I oversee the financial statements of the company to help protect its assets,” Dawn explains. “I employ good processes and procedures to maximize productivity, efficiency and, ultimately, the bottom line.

“Manufacturing is kind of a passion, and working in a unique business is something I enjoy. I always wanted to be an accountant and wanted to help make improvements within the community. Through my job, I help make and deliver products I can be proud of. I do accounting and also help people.”

For fun, Dawn is an avid pickleball player. But she’s currently under doctor’s orders to refrain from the paddleball sport while she recovers from a serious eye condition.

“Recently, I noticed a blind spot in the lower left quadrant of my left eye,” Dawn describes. “It didn’t interrupt my main vision, so I didn’t think a whole lot about it. I did think I should probably get it checked, though.”

The blind spot grew worse, and Dawn began to see floaters and flashes of light in her vision. At that point, Dawn was determined to see an ophthalmologist and finally found one who would see her immediately.

“It was the Friday before Labor Day weekend,” Dawn remembers. “The ophthalmologist looked in my eye, took pictures and said, Dawn, I don’t want to alarm you, but I need you to go to a retina specialist right away. You have a detached retina.

“The nurse from that practice walked me to my car and showed me where to go: Florida Retina Institute. The institute was about a half-mile away, and when I got there they already knew who I was. I didn’t even set down my purse and they took me back for imaging.”

At Florida Retina Institute, Dawn met with Ruwan A. Silva, MD, MPhil, a fellowship-trained retina specialist. Dr. Silva asked Dawn about her symptoms and examined her left eye. He confirmed the ophthalmologist’s diagnosis of a retinal detachment.

“Dawn presented with a sudden onset of floaters in her left eye,” Dr. Silva recalls. “Additionally, she started to see a shadow, or black area, on the bottom portion of her vision. These symptoms typically signify an age-related change in the eye called a posterior vitreous detachment.

“The vitreous is the clear substance that fills the eyeball. When we’re young, the vitreous is gelatinous. As we get older, it begins to contract and peel away from the retina, the ‘wallpaper’ on the back wall of the eye. When this occurs, the vitreous can sometimes take the wallpaper with it and create a retinal tear or retinal detachment.”

Hot and Cold 

A retinal detachment almost always begins as a tear in the wallpaper on the back of the eye, Dr. Silva informs. When the vitreous begins to pull away, it sometimes creates a tear in the retina.

“When there’s a tear in the wallpaper, the vitreous can seep into the tear and dissect the wallpaper off the back wall of the eye,” the doctor elaborates. “That is a retinal detachment.

“When a person experiences flashing lights or floaters that come on suddenly, that generally means the vitreous is starting to pull on the retina, which can lead to a tear and/or detachment.”

There are two main treatment options for a retinal detachment. One is surgery, and there are several surgical techniques used by retina specialists. The doctor will determine which type of surgery is best for each patient. Some patients require more than one surgery to completely repair the detachment.

There is also a nonsurgical option.

“The nonsurgical option for treating a retinal detachment is an in-office procedure that involves injecting a gas bubble into the affected eye,” Dr. Silva discloses. “We then perform either a freezing treatment, called cryotherapy, or a laser treatment depending on the nature of the tear or detachment. These therapies seal the retina to the back wall of the eye by creating a scar. As it heals, the scar tissue helps keep the retina attached to the underlying tissue.”

Early detection and treatment is important on several levels, Dr. Silva stresses. 

“If a person develops a tear, we can treat it very easily with a laser or cryotherapy,” he asserts. “But once they develop a detachment, then they need the gas bubble injection or surgery. And if a retinal detachment is not treated promptly, it can progress to a point that no matter what we do, the patient will permanently lose vision.

“Any changes in a person’s vision, not only central vision, but also peripheral vision in the form of a sudden onset of flashing lights and floaters or a shadow, should trigger an immediate visit to the eye doctor. It is important that these patients be seen urgently; within at least 24 hours of the onset of symptoms is ideal.” 

“The Best Experience”

Dawn opted for the nonsurgical procedure. Dr. Silva placed a gas bubble in her left eye and performed cryotherapy. The treatment worked well. Dawn’s retinal detachment resolved and she was able to avoid surgery.

“When I went back for a follow-up visit, Dr. Silva said, This is great! Your retina has reattached,” Dawn gushes. “He told me to take it easy for a while, no pickleball or jumping around, nothing that could damage the healing going on in my eye. He continued to monitor me once a month and told me to continue doing what I was doing.” 

Dawn continues to take extra precautions to ensure her eye heals properly and completely. But she’s happy with her outcome thus far.

“Everything’s going well,” she enthuses. “My vision is good. The blind spot is gone, I can see everything, and I can’t thank Dr. Silva enough. He’s just wonderful. He’s extremely knowledgeable and explained everything very thoroughly. He’s got a great bedside manner, a really phenomenal guy. I’m so lucky my problem happened when it did and I met Dr. Silva. I can’t praise him enough.

“In fact, everyone at Florida Retina Institute is wonderful. They were very cordial and super pleasant. Each person introduced themselves and explained what they were going to do. Going to Florida Retina Institute was the best experience I’ve ever had at a doctor’s office.” 

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkba
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    • Florida Retina Institute

      Founded by James A. Staman, MD in 1979, Florida Retina Institute has 19 locations throughout Central Florida, North Florida, and Southeast Georgia. They have proudly delivered Excellence in Vitreo-Retinal Diseases and Surgery for 40 years. T... Read More

    • Ruwan A. Silva, MD, MPhil

      Ruwan A. Silva, MD, MPhil, completed his undergraduate education with highest honors at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, majoring in neurobiology. He earned a Master of Philosophy degree in neurobiology from Cambridge University in En... Read More