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What Causes the Retina to Suddenly Detach?

Close up of a blue eye

Are you suddenly seeing flashes and floaters? You may have a detached retina, which is a serious eye condition. Learn about the signs and causes of retinal detachment and why you should see your eye doctor right away.

The retina is the tissue that lines the back of your eye. It’s such an important part of your eye because it’s responsible for the clear images you see. When it becomes detached, meaning it peels away from the back of your eye, you suffer blurry, impaired vision and, eventually, blindness if you don’t seek treatment.

How does the retina help you see? Light passes through your cornea, pupil, and lens and lands on the retina, which is located near the optic nerve. Light signals are sent from the retina through the optic nerve to the brain. Your brain then interprets light impulses as images. When the retina becomes detached, it can no longer function properly because its blood supply is cut off. 

Retinal detachment symptoms

Because retinal detachment is such a serious vision issue, it’s essential that you recognize the signs and symptoms, especially because there’s no pain as a warning signal. Symptoms include:

Retinal detachment risk factors and causes

Anyone can experience a retinal detachment, but it’s more common as you get older. Other risk factors include:

How does the retina detach? There are many causes of retinal detachment and also ways to help you prevent it. Common causes include:

Retinal tear

When the vitreous, which is the gel-like fluid that fills the middle of your eye and gives it its round shape, shrinks, it can pull the retina and cause it to tear. Shrinking vitreous is linked to getting older. When you have a retinal tear, vitreous fluid can seep through the tear. It builds up and eventually causes your retina to pull away from the back of the eye. 

Scar tissue

Sometimes health issues such as diabetes result in the formation of scar tissue on the surface of the retina. This scar tissue can cause the retina to pull back from the back wall of the eye and eventually detach.

Fluid accumulation

Certain eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy can result in leaking blood vessels. This leaking fluid can build up behind the retina and push it away from the back of the eye. 

Retinal detachment treatment options

Fortunately, there are several treatment options for retinal detachment. But you should see us at University Retina as soon as possible if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above. Treatment options that our retina specialists offer include:

To learn more about how you can prevent or treat retinal detachment, call one of our University Retina locations today or request an appointment online.

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