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Retinal Detachment

What is a retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment describes an emergency in which a thin layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from its normal position.
Retinal detachment separates the retinal cells from the layer of blood vessels that provides oxygen and nourishment to the eye. The more prolonged retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater your risk of permanent vision loss in the affected eye.
Warning signs of retinal detachment may include one or all of the following: reduced vision and the sudden appearance of floaters and flashes of light. Contacting an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) urgently can help save your vision.


The red arrow shows a retinal detachment

Symptoms of Retinal Detachment

  • Retinal detachment itself is painless. But warning signs almost always appear before it occurs or has advanced, such as:
  • The sudden appearance of many floaters — tiny specks that seem to drift through your field of vision
  • Flashes of light in one or both eyes (photopsia)
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually reduced side (peripheral) vision
  • A curtain-like shadow over your field of vision