This serious condition can lead to permanent blindness if not treated promptly. Know the signs!
Noticing an increase in floaters in your eyes is a warning sign, especially if accompanied by flashes of light or some loss of your peripheral vision. A curtained shadow effect may also occur.
What is retinal detachment?
Sometimes an area of the vitreous pulls its attachment away from the retina, all at once, rather than gradually, causing many new floaters to appear suddenly. This is called a posterior vitreous detachment.
In most cases, this is not sight-threatening and does not require treatment, however, a thorough dilated examination of the retina is required with an onset of new floaters.
If no retinal tears are found at the initial examination, a follow up examination is recommended about a month after the initial exam. Equally, a follow up may be necessary if new symptoms appear.
A retinal detachment occurs when any part of the retina is lifted or pulled from its normal position. A retinal detachment is serious and should always be considered an emergency.
If left untreated, a retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss.
Anyone who experiences a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light, or a loss of peripheral vision should have an optometrist examine their eyes as soon as possible.
Who’s at risk
Take a moment to consider your risk factors for retinal detachment:
- Aging – this process is much more common over the age of 50
- History – if it’s happened to you before in one eye, it could happen in the other; if it has happened to a close family member (sibling, parent, grandparent), you could be at increased risk
- Injury or surgery – a previous significant eye injury or surgical procedure can increase risk
- Eye disease – other eye disorders or disease can increase your risk, including uveitis or thinning of the peripheral retina
- Myopia – yes, extreme nearsightedness can also increase your risk
While the appearance of floaters is a natural part of aging and the changes that occur in our vision, there can be serious reasons for their presence. Retinal detachment is only one of these reasons.
Learn the causes behind eye flashes and floaters in our FAQ section.
Reach out for an appointment
If you’re concerned about any aspect of your eye health or vision, don’t wait. Early diagnosis and treatment is always better. Contact our Gloucester clinic or our Almonte clinic to book an appointment. If it’s an emergency, please call us directly.