Retinal Detachment

What is retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment describes an emergency situation when a critical layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nutrients.

Retinal detachment leaves the retinal cells deprived of oxygen. The longer retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater the risk of permanent vision loss in the affected eye.

Fortunately, retinal detachment often has clear warning signs. If you go to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) as soon as warning signs appear, early diagnosis and treatment of retinal detachment can save your vision.

Retinal detachment is painless, but retinal detachment symptoms almost always appear before it occurs. Retinal detachment symptoms may include:

  • The sudden appearance of many floaters — small bits of debris in your field of vision that look like spots, hairs or strings and seem to float before your eyes
  • Sudden flashes of light in one or both eyes
  • A shadow or curtain over a portion of your visual field

When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if you suddenly notice retinal detachment symptoms, such as new floaters or flashes of light in your visual field or if it seems as if a dark curtain has fallen across your visual field.

Click here for more information about Retinal Detachments / Retinal Tears