Have you ever wondered about eye emergencies? Or had one yourself? There are various different kinds and types to be aware of but this one in particular is important to watch out for, because left untreated it can result in permanent vision loss:
What is it?
The retina is a thin layer of tissue in the back of your eye. Retinal detachment happens when this layer is pulled away from the back of the eye. Think of it like wallpaper being pulled off of a wall. As the layer pulls away the retina loses it’s attachment to blood vessels (oxygen, nutrients) and you begin to lose your visual abilities.
How do I know if it’s happening?
Retinal detachment is painless and sometimes occurs without warning. It also only occurs in one eye. Signs your retina might be detecting are:
Flashes of light in your vision
Floaters (tiny specs that appear in your vision) that occur suddenly
Gradually reduced peripheral (side) vision
A shadow over your visual field similar to a curtain over a window
What can I do?
If you notice the above symptoms you need to contact your eye doctor immediately. Retinal detachment is a medical emergency, and most often it is treatable.
What are the risk factors for retinal detachment?
Aging is the number one factor, specifically people over the age of 50.
If you are nearsighted (if you need glasses to see things far away)
If you’ve previously had a retinal detachment
A family history of retinal detachment
Previous eye surgery (like cataract removal)
Previous eye injury
Previous other eye diseases
What can be done to treat it?
When caught early an eye surgeon (ophthalmologist) can surgically repair a detached retina. The sooner this is done, the better the chances that vision can be restored.