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Warning Signs of Retinal Detachment

Illustration comparing a healthy eye to retinal detachment

Retinal detachment is a medical emergency that, if left untreated, can cause permanent vision loss. Like most eye conditions and diseases, knowing the early warning signs of retinal detachment can help you get treatment before it’s too late. Here’s what you need to know about retinal detachment.

What’s Retinal Detachment?

Your retinas are thin, light-sensitive linings in the back of your eyes that convert light into neural signals that travel to your brain through the optic nerves. Retinal detachment occurs when your retina separates from the blood vessels that provide oxygen and nourishment to the eye. If your retinas remain separated, they can stop working and cause total and permanent vision loss.

Causes and Risk Factors of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment could result from any of the following factors:

  • A severe injury to the head or eye area

  • Diabetes

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Complications from eye surgery

  • A family history of the condition

  • Near-sightedness, with prescriptions of more than -6.00D

Retinal detachment is also more frequent in people over 50 because as you age, the jelly-like substance that fills your eyeball – vitreous humor – shrinks and pulls on the retina.

5 Symptoms of Retinal Detachment

It’s vital that you seek medical help immediately if you notice the following symptoms:

  1. A sudden increase in the number of “floaters,” specks or cobwebs that float through your field of vision

  2. Quick flashes of light in your peripheral vision

  3. Sudden onset of blurred vision in one eye

  4. A decrease in your peripheral vision

  5. A curtain-like shadow over your field of vision

Additionally, if you notice a particular blind spot in your field of vision or jagged lines across objects or images, seek the help of an optometrist.

Retinal Detachment Treatment

If caught early, your eye doctor can urgently refer you for treatments that stop your retinas from detaching completely, thereby saving your vision. These treatments include:

  • Laser photocoagulation, where a laser is used to cauterize ocular blood vessels

  • Vitrectomy, where a surgeon removes and replaces the jelly in your eye

  • Cryotherapy, which freezes the retina back into its original position

  • Scleral buckling, where a surgeon wraps a band or buckle around your eye to keep your retina in the correct location

  • A surgeon can inject an expanding gas bubble or silicone oil into your eye to push the retina back into place

Visit an Optometrist in Edmonton Today

At Optometrists’ Clinic Inc., our eye doctors can identify the signs of retinal detachment. Medically necessary visits are covered by Alberta Health Care so you should call for an urgent appointment if you have any symptoms of retinal detachment. An optometrist can recommend a treatment that may prevent vision loss. Contact us today and schedule an appointment at one of our clinics in Edmonton, Westlock and Leduc.



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