What is the retina?

The retina is the layer of tissue at the back of the eye that changes light into signals that your brain can interpret.

What is a detached retina?

A detached retina is when the retina separates from the layer of supporting tissue underneath. It can lead to vision impairment, temporary vision loss, and, if untreated, permanent vision loss.

Are there other conditions that affect the retina?

The retina is affected by a number of health conditions. Two of the most significant are diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

What causes detached retina?

Most often, detached retina is caused by a small retinal tear that can be caused by trauma or pulling by the gel in the eye (called the vitreous), or may be spontaneous. This tear allows vitreous fluid to get behind the retina, separating it from supporting tissue.

Who is at risk for detached retina?

You may be at an elevated risk for detached retina if:

  • You have a family history of detached retina
  • You are very nearsighted
  • You have suffered eye or head trauma
  • You have been diagnosed with degeneration of the retina

Regular visits to an eye doctor are crucial for people with these risk factors. Often a tear can be detected and corrected before it becomes a detachment.

What are the symptoms of detached retina?

Retinal tears and detached retina can both have the following symptoms:

  • Sudden increase in floaters
  • Visual flashes
  • Darkness in the field of vision or partial blindness
  • Blurry vision

Detached retina and retinal tears are not painful.

Can detached retina be prevented?

There is currently no good prevention for detached retina, but early detection and treatment can prevent damage to your vision.

What treatments are available for detached retina?

There are several treatment options available for detached retina:

  • Laser retina repair
  • Injections of air or silicone oil
  • Vitrectomy–separation of the vitreous from the retina to release tension on the retina
  • Scleral buckle–indenting the eye so that the detached retina is brought back into contact with supporting tissue

You can learn more about these treatment options on our Retinal Detachment Treatment Options page.

How do I choose a surgeon for my detached retina?

Please see our detailed page on How to Choose a Retina Surgeon for more information.

If you have suffered a torn or detached retina, please contact the Eye Surgery Center of Louisiana today to schedule a consultation at one of our New Orleans-area locations.

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