Detached retina

Detached retina

A detached retina occurs when the lining at the back of the eye starts to pull away from the blood vessels at the back of the eye. If you suspect a detatched retina than seek medical attention immediately, as it can lead to blindness.

Symptoms of a detached retina

  • Symptoms include the appearance of floaters within the vision. These are dark spots which appear to drift or float in front of the eye.
  • You may have blurred vision.
  • Or see flashes of light in your eye, or a shadow across your field of vision.

Eye anatomy

Eye anatomy

Detached retina causes

A detached retina is most often caused by a direct trauma to the eye from a blunt object. Eye injuries are more common in contact sports such as boxing, rugby and martial arts, as well as racket sports, especially squash. The squash ball is the perfect size to fit into the eye socket.

Age can also increase the likelihood of a detached retina because the retina becomes weaker and thinner with age. Tiny holes develop inside the retina which allows fluid (which is normally found between the retina and lens) to seep through.

A build-up of fluid can cause the retina to start pulling away from the back of the eye where its blood supply is. With a reduced blood supply, the cells of the retina will begin to die.


If you suspect a detached retina then get medical advice from an eye specialist as soon as possible. It is a serious eye injury, which can lead to you going blind if it is not recognised and treated.

  • They will observe the eye using an Ophthalmoscope to view the retina at the back of the eye.
  • An ultrasound scan may also be used to see the back of the eye.
  • Surgery is required to reattach the retina.
  • This is usually completely successful and may only require an overnight hospital stay.


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