Retinal Tears & Detachments

A retinal detachment happens when the retina partially separates from the back of the eye. Once this happens the retina loses its ability to work efficiently resulting in the loss of some or all of the vision in the affected eye.

The retina is an extremely delicate structure and once detached can be damaged further very easily. It is therefore imperative that once a detachment occurs it is treated immediately.


Who is at risk?

Retinal detachments are very rare, affecting only around 1 in 10000 people. Detachments are even rarer in people under the age of 16 with the most common group being in the 60-70 year old range. People most at risk are those

  • Who are very short sighted
  • Have a family history of detachments
  • Who have had a trauma or injury to the eye

Symptoms

  • An increase in the number of ‘floaters’ you can see. Floaters are debris which float in the fluid inside your eye, casting a shadow on the retina.
  • Many people report the incidence of flashing lights, often seen at the edge of your vision. These flashing lights could mean that there is a tear in the retina.
  • Dark shadows can sometimes be observed coming from the edge of your vision into the centre.

If you experience any of these symptoms it is vital that you see an optometrist or visit the hospital within 24 hours.

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