A retinal detachment is a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness unless treated. If any of the following signs and symptoms occur, call our office immediately.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Light flashes
  • Wavy or watery vision
  • Veil or curtain obstructing vision
  • Shower of floaters that resemble spots, bugs or spider webs
  • Sudden decrease in vision

As one gets older, the vitreous, the clear gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye, tends to shrink slightly and take on a more watery consistency. Sometimes as the vitreous shrinks it exerts enough force on the retina to make it tear.
Retinal tears increase the chance of developing a retinal detachment. Vitreous fluid, passing through the tear, lifts the retina off the back of the eye like wallpaper peeling off a wall. Laser surgery or cryotherapy (freezing) are often used to seal retinal tears and prevent detachment.

Cross-section of a retinal detachment

Early treatment greatly improves the chance to restore vision after a retinal tear.

Drs. Fagadau & Hawk examine the retina by ophthalmoscopy to determine if the macula (the retinal center responsible for the central vision) is attached. This determines the type of corrective surgery required and the likelihood for functional vision after the operation. Appropriate retinal specialists may evaluate and perform the repair.

Photos courtesy of American Academy of Ophthalmology.