A retinal detachment is a very serious eye condition. A detached retina occurs when the tissue at the very back of the eye (the retina itself) is pulled away from its surrounding tissue. Because the retina is the part of the eye that deals with processing light, its detachment can lead to permanent loss of vision if left untreated. For this reason, a retinal detachment is considered a medical emergency.
Although retinal detachment’s can occur at any age, it’s seen most often in individuals over the age of 40, particularly males. Those who are especially susceptible to a retinal detachment include those who are very nearsighted, have a family history of retinal detachments, have previously suffered an eye injury or eye condition, have had cataract surgery, or already had a retinal detachment occur in their other eye.
Symptoms of a detached retina include, increased incidence of “floaters” (the little “bits” that float around in your field of vision), flashes of light, or what appears to be a dark “curtain” obscuring your sight. Treatments include laser surgery, cryopexy (a freezing treatment that essentially “welds” the tissue together), or a vitrectomy (a process that involves removing the vitreous gel from the middle of the eye).
If you noticed any of the symptoms described or suspect you may have a retinal detachment, see an ophthalmologist immediately or go to the nearest emergency center to have your eyes examined. Remember, this is a very serious medical emergency! If treated early, your ophthalmologist may be able to help prevent damage or permanent blindness.