Retinal detachment is an eye disorder in which the retina (light receptive layer of tissue at the back of the eye) is pulled away from its normal position. In retinal detachment, the retina gets separated from the underlying choroid (layer of blood vessels that supplies oxygen and nutrients to the retina), and leaves the retinal cells deprived of oxygen. Certain risk factors, such as aging, severe nearsightedness, an eye injury, cataract surgery and family history, can increase the chances of retinal detachment. If not treated early, this condition can cause permanent vision loss.
Certain symptoms appear as warning signs and almost always appear before retinal detachment can occur or become more severe. The characteristic signs and symptoms that indicate the onset of retinal detachment include:
- Sudden onset of blurred vision
- Partial vision loss (as if a gray curtain is moving across the field of vision)
- Eye floaters (tiny specks or strings floating in the field of vision)
- Eye flashes (illusion of flashing lights in the side vision)
- Shadows or blind spots (areas of darkness) in the field of vision
To diagnose retinal detachment, a comprehensive eye examination is performed; wherein the physical appearance of your eye, vision, eye pressure and your ability to see colours is tested. Your doctor instills eye drops to dilate your pupil in order to see your retina properly. An ultrasound may also be ordered in certain cases.
There are several treatment modalities for retinal detachment, with vitrectomy being the most widely used surgical procedure.