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Retinal Detachment

The retina of the eye is a relatively well-known part of the human body, and is an extremely important one. The retina is a light-sensitive membrane located at the back of the eye. It transforms the light energy that’s perceived by our eyes every day into electrical signals, which can then be sent to the brain and transformed into a visual picture. Without a healthy retina, it would be impossible for us to see anything. Unfortunately, the retina is not immune to health problems. One of the worst issues that can develop is a retinal detachment.

About Retinal Detachment

“Retinal detachment” refers to a health issue where the retina is lifted or pulled from its normal position inside the eye. This movement often separates the retina from the supportive tissues that keep the retina healthy and functional. 

retinaldetach.pngOnce separated from these tissues, the retina can no longer function normally, and blindness becomes a very real possibility. Because of this, cases of retinal detachment are considered to be medical emergencies.

Causes Of And Risk Factors For Retinal Detachment

The causes of retinal detachment can vary depending on the type of detachment that’s taking place.

Retinal detachments are most likely to occur in individuals who are over the age of 40; however, they can occur at any age and affect both men and women.

Other factors that can increase the risk of a retinal detachment are:

  • Nearsightedness
  • A family history of retinal detachment
  • A medical record that includes a traumatic injury to the eye, cataract surgery, or past cases of retinal detachment
Effects And Symptoms Of Retinal Detachment

Patients suffering from a retinal detachment will commonly begin to see one or more of the following: 

  • floaters
  • flashes of light
  • a “curtain” over their field of vision that partially obstructs their ability to see
  • a darkening in their peripheral vision

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit with an eye doctor immediately. Retinal detachments are a painless condition - these symptoms will often be the only sign that a retinal detachment is occurring.

Preventing & Addressing Retinal Detachment

Annual eye exams are the best line of defense against a retinal detachment. During theseexams, an eye doctor can examine the retina for any signs of distress, and can prescribe treatment if necessary. Treating any developing issues can sometimes help to prevent a detachment from occurring in the future. 

To help further protect their eyes, patients should also wear proper eye protection during sports or at work (if necessary) to protect their eyes from potential traumatic events or accidents, as these events always raise the risk of developing a retinal detachment.

Image courtesy of wikimedia.org