What is Retinal Detachment?

Retina is the light sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain.  When the retina detaches, it is lifted or pulled from its normal position.  If not treated promptly, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.

Key Points to Remember:

  • If you have any sudden change in vision, see an eye doctor immediately!
  • Low Vision Clinics an help you adjust to a life with low vision

A few symptoms may indicate that your retina is at risk. These must be taken very seriously.

Get medical attention immediately if you see:

  • Floaters: black dots or stars that move through your field of vision
  • Sudden, short flashes of light
  • Blurry vision

Once the retina detaches, the affected eye will quickly lose sight. This may look like a dark shadow spreading across your vision. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency.

Risk Factors:

  • Extremely nearsighted
  • Had a retinal detachment in the other eye
  • Family history of retinal detachment
  • Had an eye injury
  • Has had cataract surgery

Retinal detachments are treated with surgery – Scleral Buckle or Vitrectomy.  For Scleral Buckle, a tiny synthetic band is attached to the outside of the eyeball to gently push the wall of the eye against the detached retina.  During vitrectomy, the vitreous (a gel like substance that fills the centre of the eye) is replaced by silicon oil or gas.

With modern therapy, over 90% of retinal detachment can be successfully treated, although sometimes a second treatment is needed.  However, the visual outcome is not always predictable.  Visual results are best if the retinal detachment is repaired before the macula (the centre region of retina responsible for fine, detailed vision)