What is a Detached Retina?

If you experience sudden flashes or the appearance of a series of new floaters across your vision, you may have a detached retina. Retinal detachment is an emergency situation where the thin tissue at the back of the eye, the retina, pulls away from the wall. If a detached retina isn’t treated immediately, it can cause permanent vision loss.

Here’s some more information on retinal detachment and when you may need to call the experts at Central Valley Eye Medical to take care of it.

What causes a detached retina?

When the thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye, the retina, pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nutrients, this is retinal detachment. This can lead to vision loss in the affected eye.

There are three different types of retinal detachment:

  • Rhegmatogenous— These are the most common forms of detachment. Rhegmatogenous detachments are caused by a hole or tear in the retina that allows fluid to pass through and collect underneath the retina, pulling the retina away from underlying tissues. The areas that detach lose their blood supply and stop working, causing vision loss.

This type of detachment is usually simply due to aging. As we age, the gel-like material that fills the inside of our eyes, the vitreous, becomes more liquid and less gel-like. This causes it to shrink. In most cases the vitreous separates from the retina without any complications. But it can also cause a tear by tugging on the retina as it pulls away. The liquid vitreous then goes through the tear and gets behind the retina, causing it to detach.

  • Tractional— This type of detachment occurs when scar tissue grows on the retina’s surface, causing the retinal to pull away from the back of the eye. This can happen with poorly controlled diabetes and certain other conditions.
  • Exudative— In this form of detachment, fluid accumulates beneath the retina, but there aren’t any holes or tears. This is caused by macular degeneration, an eye injury, tumors, or inflammatory disorders.

What are the symptoms of a detached retina?

You could assume there would be pain when the retina pulls away from the back wall of the eye, but this is painless. You will have warning signs before it occurs or has advanced:

  • Sudden appearance of many floaters, the specks and lines that drift in front of your vision
  • Flashes of light in one or both eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually reduced peripheral vision
  • Curtain-like shadow over your visual field

All of these signs or symptoms demand an immediate call to Central Valley Eye Medical at (800) 244-9907. We can address your retinal detachment before it causes vision loss.

Posted in: Retinal Detachment


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