Retinal detachment is an emergency situation in which blood vessels that provides it with oxygen comes off. It is more likely to occur in those who are nearsighted, have a family history of retinal detachment and have had cataract surgery.
The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. Retinal detachment is an emergency situation in which blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nourishment comes off. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.
In some cases there may be small areas of the retina that are torn. These areas, called retinal tears or retinal breaks, can lead to retinal detachment. A retinal detachment can occur at any age, but it is more common in people over age 40.
A retinal detachment is also more likely to occur in people who:
- are nearsighted,
- have had a retinal detachment in the other eye,
- have a family history of retinal detachment,
- have had cataract surgery,
- have eye problems such as retinoschisis, uveitis, degenerative myopia, or lattice degeneration and
- have had an eye injury.
Retinal detachments are treated with surgery that may require the patient to stay in the hospital. In some cases a scleral buckle, a tiny synthetic band, is attached to the outside of the eyeball to gently push the wall of the eye against the detached retina. If necessary, a vitrectomy may also be performed.
Most of the retinal detachment treatments are success. However, sometimes a second treatment may be needed. In rare cases, treatment may fail and vision can be lost. It is important to contact an eye care professional immediately if you see a sudden or gradual increase in the number of floaters and/or light flashes.
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