Retinal Detachment: When to Talk to an Optometrist
Retinal detachment can be a serious eye condition, which will likely lead to vision loss if left untreated. So, it is important to understand the signs of retinal detachment so you know when you need to talk to an eye doctor.
Retinal Detachment – What is it?
The retina is a tissue layer, located in the back section of the eye. When images come into the eye, the this light-sensitive portion (known as the retina) captures the information and sends electrical messages to the brain to translate what you are seeing.
If the retina pulls away from the standard position in the back area of the eye, then it is known as retinal detachment. Sometimes, only a small detachment occurs, which could cause no symptoms. But if a larger area of the retina detaches, then it can have a sudden impact on your vision.
Possible Risk Factors
In most cases, retinal detachment is caused by aging or an injury to the eye. Certain risk factors increase the possibility of experiencing this eye condition:
- You’ve had retinal detachment before
- Family members have a history of retinal detachment
- You experienced a severe eye injury
- You previously had eye surgery, such as cataract treatment
- You’ve been diagnosed with other eye conditions, such as degenerative myopia, lattice degeneration, posterior vitreous detachment, or diabetic retinopathy.
Just because you have one or more of these risk factors, doesn’t mean that you will experience retinal detachment. But it is important to know that you are at a higher risk, so you can pay attention to the warning signs and seek medical attention if needed.
Retinal detachment can’t be prevented, but there are certain things that you can do to lower your risk of this eye condition. For example, if you are participating in sports activities or anything that could potentially injure the eyes, it is smart to wear protective eye gear (such as safety goggles) to prevent an eye injury that could lead to retinal detachment.
Signs of Retinal Detachment
Knowing the signs can help you identify when you need to talk to an optometrist about your vision. Common symptoms include:
- A sudden increase of “floaters” (black or gray specks that you can see floating in your vision)
- A shadow or curtain blocking a portion of your field of vision
- Flashes of light (can happen in one or both eyes)
Keep in mind that these symptoms typically begin quickly, which means that you will likely notice an immediate change in your vision.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, then the best solution is to go to the emergency room or visit your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment for Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment can indeed cause permanent vision loss. If it is not treated right away, then a larger portion of the retina can detach and increase the chances of permanent vision loss. In severe cases, permanent blindness is possible.
But immediate treatment can be done to protect your vision and minimize damage. The above symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency since your eyesight is at risk.
Do you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms related to retinal detachment? Contact our office without delay! We are here to assist with all of your eye care needs.