What is Retinal Detachment?
Retinal detachment describes, a separation between the retina and the back wall of the eye. This is similar to wallpaper peeling off a wall. The retina contains the photoreceptor cells that enable us to see. When it detaches, those cells will not work properly and the picture that the brain receives becomes patchy or may be lost completely. An urgent operation is necessary to replace the detached retina in its proper position, to prevent permanent sight loss.
What are the Symptoms?
People often describe seeing something black like a curtain or cobweb obscuring their vision. This may be preceded by the sudden appearance of flashing lights and floaters which could indicate retinal holes or tears occurring before the retina detaches. These symptoms should not be ignored and require an urgent eye examination.
What Causes a Retinal Detachment?
Most retinal detachments develop because of a hole or tear in the retina. This can occur when the retina is thin for example in very short sighted people, or if the vitreous (the jelly-like substance that fills the eye) separates from the retina. Other eye or health problems such as diabetes and injuries such as a blow to the eye can occasionally be the cause of a retinal detachment and sometimes retinal detachment may occur following cataract operations or other types of eye surgery.
What Should I do if I suspect I have a Retinal Detachment?
If you think that you have the symptoms of a retinal detachment you should go straight to the nearest eye hospital accident and emergency department.