What is Retinal Detachment?

The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the inside back portion of the eye. It's job is to translate light into neural impulses to send to the brain. Because the retina relies primarily on the choroid for nutrients, if the retina pulls away from the choroid (becomes detached) it can lose its ability to get nutrition and can eventually die. Once retinal tissue dies, it does not regrow.

A retinal detachment can be caused by many factors, including eye trauma, and vitreous detachment (when the middle, jelly-like core of the eye no longer presses up against the retina), and is more common in middle-aged to older patients, especially those who have had cataract surgery. Myopic patients, especially patients with higher myopic prescriptions (prescriptions greater than a -5.00 sphere) are at greater risk, as are people involved in strenuous activities (such as weight lifting) or high-impact sports (such as football, karate, and the like).

What are the symptoms of Retinal Detachment?

Because untreated retinal detachment can quickly cause blindness, knowing the symptoms is very important. Symptoms include quick flashes of light in the extreme periphery of the vision, a large increase in the number of floaters, a curtain or veil that feels like it has been pulled over the vision, the experience of shadows or darkness coming over the eye, starting at the peripheral part of the vision and progressing in towards the center, and lines that are straight (such as roads, signs, and the like) appearing curved.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your eye care professional immediately.

How is Retinal Detachment treated?

Retinal detachments are generally treated with surgery or laser treatments. The repair option selected depends on the severity and location of the tear.


If you are noticing flashes, lots of new floaters, and/or "curtains" or new "blind spots," call 775-787-3939 immediately.