Retinal Detachment Symptoms

The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye, similar to the film in a camera. The retina is responsible for sending visual messages through the optic nerve to our brain. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is lifted or pulled from its normal position, and vision loss can occur. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.

Our eye is filled with a gel-like substance called the vitreous and as we get older, the vitreous slowly begins to shrink. If this shrinkage pulls on the attached retina hard enough, it could result in a tear. Then, fluid is able to pass through the small tear and when this happens it can lift the retina off the back of an eye- a retinal detachment.

A retinal detachment is more likely to occur in those who have:

  • Severe nearsightedness
  • A previous retinal detachment
  • A family history of retinal detachments
  • Had cataract surgery
  • Had an eye injury
  • An eye disease such as uveitis, degenerative myopia or lattice degeneration

The most common symptom of retinal detachment is either a gradual or sudden onset of eye floaters and flashes. Floaters are dark colored specks, clouds, or web-like images that drift across the field of vision. Flashes on the other hand, are sparks or flashes of light that are seen out of the corner of the eye and are more common at night. In addition to floaters and flashes, another common symptom is having a shadow appear in your peripheral vision that eventually spreads to the central vision. Similarly, you may notice a transparent or grey colored “curtain” that is coming down over your field of vision. Additionally, straight lines may begin to appear curved. It is important to note that there typically is not any pain associated with a retinal detachment.

Contact California Retina Consultants at any of our locations across Central California to learn more about Retinal Detachment or to schedule an appointment.