Is a Retinal Detachment a Medical Emergency? - Kovach Eye Institute
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Is a Retinal Detachment a Medical Emergency?

It is very important to be diligent when it comes to taking care of your eyes. When left alone, a small problem can become threatening to your vision very quickly.

In some cases, an eye issue can be so serious that you need immediate medical help to stop you from going blind. Retinal detachment is one of these dangers, and it is just as bad as the name sounds. 

Keep reading to learn if a retinal detachment is a medical emergency!

What Is a Retinal Detachment?

Your retina is a thin sheet of tissue that lines the back wall of your eye. When light enters the eye, your cornea and lens focus the rays onto the retina.

The retina then senses the light and sends the information to the brain. It is an essential component of vision.

The retina is attached to the back of the eye and can become detached, which is vision-threatening. If your retina becomes separated from your eye, it cannot do its job of producing vision. 

How Do You Know If Your Retina Is Tearing?

The symptoms of a retinal detachment often come on quickly and are very noticeable. You may notice a sudden appearance of floaters.

Floaters often appear as specks, squiggly lines, cobwebs, or like smoke in your field of vision. They usually move when you move your eye and are often more visible against a light background.

Floaters do not always indicate a retinal detachment. However, if you notice new or large floaters, it’s best to be seen by your eye doctor for an evaluation. 

Another indicator of a retinal tear or detachment is seeing bright light flashes. These flashes of light may look like a camera flash or a lightning bolt.

If you notice these symptoms and rapidly darkening eyesight or a change in peripheral vision, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.    

What Causes Retinal Detachment?

Many different factors can cause retinal detachment. The most common causes of retinal detachment are injury and aging. 

As you age, the gel-like substance that fills the majority of your eye shrinks. It can begin to pull on the retina as it gets smaller, causing stress damage. 

From there, fluid can accumulate behind the retina and cause it to detach from the wall of the eye. Scar tissue inside of the eye can also pull on the retina. 

Scarring can be the result of uncontrolled diabetes. As blood sugar increases, vessels inside the eye are damaged and clumsily heal over in a constant cycle. 

Even if holes don’t form in the retina, fluid can sometimes build up behind it. It can be a complication from an eye injury or even a side effect of a tumor.

Another factor that may make you at increased risk for retinal detachment is extreme nearsightedness or if you’ve had previous eye surgery.

How Does an Eye Doctor Repair a Retina After a Detachment?

You will likely need surgery to resolve a retinal detachment. The type of treatment you will need will depend on the cause of the retinal detachment and the size.

After you receive treatment, it can take several months for your eyes to heal and for your eyesight to improve. In some cases, more than one procedure may be necessary.  

To best preserve your vision, it is vital to seek treatment immediately if you notice any changes to your vision, flashes of light, or new floaters.  

Do you want to learn more about how to keep your eyes and vision healthy? Schedule an appointment at Kovac Eye Institute in Naperville, IL, today!

630-833-9621 locations request an appointment patient registration LASIK Special