WHAT IS RETINAL DETACHMENT?
The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. When the retina detaches, it is lifted or pulled from its normal position. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.
In some cases there may be small areas of the retina that are torn. These areas, called retinal tears or retinal breaks, can lead to retinal detachment.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR RETINAL DETACHMENT?
A retinal detachment may occur at any age, but it is more common in people over age 40. It affects men more than women, and Whites more than African Americans.
A retinal detachment is also more likely to occur in people who:
Are extremely nearsighted Have had a retinal detachment in the other eye
Have a family history of retinal detachment
Have other eye diseases or disorders, such as retinoschisis, uveitis, degenerative myopia, or lattice degeneration Have had an eye injury
SYMPTOMS OF RETINAL DETACHMENT
Symptoms include a sudden or gradual increase in either the number of floaters, which are little “cobwebs” or specks that float about in your field of vision, and/or light flashes in the eye. Another symptom is the appearance of a curtain over the field of vision. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of a retinal detachment should see an eye care professional immediately.