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. This can lead to blindness so should be treated quickly.
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. Vision may be blurred and the patient may see flashes of light in the eye or a shadow across their field of vision
A detached retina is most often caused by a direct trauma to the eye from a blunt object. It is a common injury in boxers. 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 a detached retina is suspected the patient is referred to an eye specialist. 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.