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What is a retinal detachment?
The retina is wallpapered at the back of the eyes. A retinal detachment is when the retina gets damaged in a way that it breaks or peels away.

Diagram of the eye
Diagram of the eye

How would someone know if they have a retinal detachment?
There are certain signs and symptoms: random flashes in the vision lasting split seconds, little dark spots or cobweb-like structures obscuring the vision called floaters, or a curtain in the vision which is much more disturbing. It is important to have these symptoms investigated quickly by your eyecare practitioner. However, also note that these symptoms do not always mean that a retinal detachment is present. Sometimes, a vitreous detachment can have similar symptoms to a retinal detachment.

What is a vitreous detachment?
There is a gel in the middle of the eye which is stuck on to the retina in different places. A vitreous detachment is when this gel might come off the retina. This is quite normal and common, and is of no problem at all. A vitreous detachment can result in flashes and floaters described above so getting advice from your eyecare practitioner is paramount.

What can be done about retinal detachments?
There are several treatments for retinal detachments. The appropriate treatment depends on the type of damage in one’s retina. The main point is that in most instances, it needs to be dealt with quickly i.e. within a few days.

Last words
If you experience any flashes of light or floaters or curtains in your vision, seek immediate advice from your eye care practitioner.

Useful link: click here for more information on flashes and floaters.

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