Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition in which the retina, the thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye responsible for capturing and sending visual information to the brain, becomes separated or detached from its normal position. When the retina detaches, it is separated from the underlying blood vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients, which can lead to a loss of vision if not promptly treated. Retinal detachment is considered a medical emergency.
Risk factors for retinal detachment include:
- Age: Retinal detachment is more common in adults over the age of 40.
- Myopia (nearsightedness): People with myopia have a higher risk of retinal detachment.
- Eye injuries: Trauma to the eye, such as from accidents or sports injuries, can increase the risk of retinal detachment.
- Family history: Having a family history of retinal detachment may increase your risk.
- Previous retinal detachment: If you have had a retinal detachment in one eye, you are at higher risk of it occurring in the other eye.
- Previous eye surgery: Certain eye surgeries, such as cataract surgery, can increase the risk of retinal detachment.
- Other eye conditions: Conditions like lattice degeneration, retinoschisis, or uveitis can increase the risk of retinal detachment.
- Diabetic retinopathy: People with diabetes, particularly those with advanced diabetic retinopathy, are at higher risk of developing tractional retinal detachment.
It's important to recognize the symptoms of retinal detachment, which may include:
- The sudden appearance of floaters (spots or cobweb-like shapes in your field of vision).
- Flashes of light in the affected eye.
- A shadow or curtain effect in the peripheral or central vision.
- Rapidly decreasing or distorted central vision.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention, as retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated promptly. Treatment for retinal detachment typically involves surgery to reattach the retina. The choice of surgical procedure may vary based on the type and severity of the detachment. If you are concerned you may have developed retinal detachment, call us urgently for an acute appointment with one of our team of optometrists.