A retinal detachment is when the light sensitive retina detaches from the layer of blood vessels at the back the eyeball. If not treated promptly, it can cause permanent loss of vision in the affected eye.
What should I look out for?
Most people with a retinal detachment will experience some warning signs before their sight is affected. If you notice the sudden appearance of floaters (dark spots floating in the vision), flashing lights, shadows, dark patches or blurred, distorted vision you should seek immediate medical attention. Be aware that some of these symptoms also occur during a 'posterior vitreous detachment' which is much less severe and more common, but still requires further examination.
What causes retinal detachments?
As we age, the retina becomes thinner and more brittle and can pull away from the underlying blood vessels. It can also be caused by a direct injury to the eyeball and is more common in people who are very short-sighted.
How are retinal detachments treated?
There are several types of surgery for retinal detachment, depending upon the type of detachment and the individual. Recovery can take several months and it may be some time before you are able to return to normal activities. Sometimes, even following successful reattachment surgery, the vision does not return fully, particularly if the detachment was not treated quickly.