In the video below, I discuss retinal detachment and provide information on the condition’s signs and symptoms. This information is also provided in text form below.
What Causes Retinal Detachment?
Many people think that a detached retina is associated with trauma, such as being hit in the eye, but this is actually not the most common cause of retinal detachment at all. Most retinal detachment happen to people who are in their sixties and seventies, or older, and it usually happens because of a posterior vitreous detachment.
A posterior vitreous detachment is where the vitreous, the jelly in the eye, peels away from the retina. If there is a spot, patch or area in which the vitreous is attached more firmly to the retina than it should be, the pulling can cause a tear in the retina. If you get a tear in the retina, you may see flashes, new floaters, and if you’re unlucky, fluid can go through the tear in the retina behind and strip the retina off. Generally, a retina detachment continues to progress and can blind you.
What Are the Signs of Retinal Detachment?
When retina detachment first starts, people usually just see either flashes or floaters, but as the rest of it gets stripped off, they can also begin to notice there’s a patch of their vision in any particular direction where they see a shadow that slowly moves towards the centre. It’s very important to pick this up and get it seen to before it gets to the centre. The macula is the central part of the retina, and if the macula is detached (otherwise known as a macula-off retinal detachment), then however successful the retina detachment surgery is, the person will never regain perfectly normal vision again. Whereas if we catch the detached retina before it’s gotten to the centre, there’s a very good chance that we can preserve that patient’s vision long term.
As with flashes and floaters, if you see a new shadow coming across your vision, it’s very important to get your vision seen to urgently.