What is a retina detachment?
A retinal detachment occurs when the retina is pulled away from its normal position. The retina does not work when it is detached. Vision is blurred, just as a photographic image would be blurry if the film were loose inside the camera.
A retina detachment is a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness unless it is treated.
What are the warning symptoms of retinal detachment?
These early symptoms may indicate the presence of a retinal detachment:
- flashing lights
- new floaters
- a shadow in the periphery of your field of vision;
- a gray curtain moving across your field of vision.
These symptoms do not always mean a retinal detachment is present; however, you should see your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
Conditions that increase the chance of a retina detachment:
- previous cataract surgery
- severe injury
- previous retinal detachment in your other eye
- family history of retinal detachment;
- weak areas in your retina that can be seen by your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.)
Diagnosis of a retinal detachment
Your ophthalmologist can diagnose retinal detachment during an eye examination in which he or she dilates (enlarges) the pupils of your eyes. Some reintal detachments are found during a routine eye exam. Only after careful examination can your ophthalmologist tell whether a retinal tear or early retinal detachment is present.
What treatment is needed for a retinal detachment?
Most retinal tears need to be treated with laser surgery or cryotherapy (freezing), which seals the retina to the back wall of the eye. These treatments cause little or no discomfort and may be performed in your ophthalmologist’s office. Treatment usually prevents retinal detachment.
What causes a retina detachment?
A clear gel called vitreous fills the middle of the eye. As we get older, the vitreous may pull away from its attachment to the retina at the back of the eye.
Ususally the vitreous separates from the retina without causing problems. But sometimes the vitreous pulls hard enough to tear the retina in one of more places. Fluid may pass through the retinal tear, lifting the retina off the back of the eye.