Due to the physiological complexity of our amazing eyes, there are a variety of ailments that can occur that will affect our vision.  Understanding the danger in retinal detachment is the first step to managing its potentially permanent damage to our precious eye sight.

What is The Retina?

The retina is located in the back of the eye.  It uses specialized cells, called rods and cones, to convert light into sensory signals that travel to our brains to create the visual images we see.  It is made up of an outer layer, where the rods and cones function, and an inner layer that serves to nourish and support the rods and cones, holding them in place.

Why and How Does Retinal Detachment Occur?

There are several possibilities as to why detachment occurs.  Most commonly it happens because a hole has formed in the retina, allowing fluid to leak in between the two layers of the retina causing them to separate.  An injury to the eye, and infection in the eye, or as a result of a complication in surgery of the eye are all factors that may contribute to retinal detachment.

What Should You Watch For?

Although trauma or infection can cause a detachment, the biggest risk factor is your age.  With age, the amount of fluid in your eyes actually shrinks.  The force from the shrinkage can influence a tear that forms into a retinal detachment, so the older you are, the more at risk you are for it to happen.  If is does, you won’t likely feel any pain, but instead you might notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Curved lines in your vision
  • Sudden flashes of light as you move your eyes around
  • A heavy, weighted sensation in your eye
  • Shadows from your peripheral vision that begin to move inward
  • Seeing more floaters than you usually do
  • A feeling like a transparent curtain has fallen over your eye.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.  Permanent vision loss can occur if a retinal detachment isn’t treated immediately.

As always, we urge you to get your annual exams on a regular basis.  Preventative care is always better than trying to correct the problem after it occurs.  Your annual eye exam will explore your overall retinal health and watch for any signs or risk factors of retinal detachment.

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