A: Retinal detachment is a serious issue that occurs whenever the retina separates from the vitreous, which is the gel-like fluid that fills the inside of the eye. As we age, the vitreous may change in shape and pull away from the retina. When this occurs, sometimes part of the retina can be pulled, causing a retinal tear. This tear in the retina often leads to detachment. In this case, the retina is not able to function and permanent vision loss or even blindness may occur unless the retina is reattached in a timely manner.
People with certain eye conditions are more prone to retinal tears or detachments including those with nearsightedness (myopia), those who have had a previous eye surgery, severe eye injury, or those with a family history of retinal detachment. If you fall into any of these categories, it is critical to have comprehensive eye exams performed on a regular basis.
There is no pain associated with retinal detachment, so it is important to recognize the common warning signs. These signs include a sudden appearance of flashes, a sudden increase in number and size of floaters, a shadow that appears in your peripheral vision, or a sudden decrease in vision. If you ever experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention from your eye doctor to improve the chances of regaining any lost vision.