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What is Retinal Detachment?

The retina is a layer of tissue at the back of the eye that converts visual images into nerve impulses in the brain. Injuries to the eye can cause layers of the retina to separate, which is known as a retinal detachment. Any portion of the retina that is detached cannot send visual signals to the brain. If left untreated, retinal detachment can cause blindness. A retinal detachment is considered an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

Anyone who has experienced trauma to the eye should see an ophthalmologist who can perform a dilated eye exam. Blunt eye trauma can cause bruises and scarring of the retina. Following a blunt trauma, tears can develop and lead to blinding retinal detachments at any time in life. Symptoms of retinal detachment include light flashes, floaters, and loss of vision. Both surgical and non-surgical procedures are used to treat retinal detachment.

Treatment & Prevention

The best way to treat ocular trauma is to prevent it in the first place by wearing protective eyewear and avoiding hazardous conditions. Sports-related injuries, car accidents, fireworks, trampolines, and BB guns are some of the most common causes of eye injuries in children.

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Retinal Tears

Over the course of an individual’s lifetime, the vitreous inside of the eye shrinks. As it continues to shrink, a portion of retinal tissue may stay attached to the vitreous, leading to a retinal tear. If left untreated, a tear may lead to retinal detachment. With treatment, the damage usually can be repaired.

Retinal Holes

As with retinal tears, the vitreous inside of the eye shrinks as we age. As it continues to shrink, a small portion of retinal tissue may be torn off of the retina, leading to a retinal hole. If left untreated, most retinal holes will not harm your eyesight, but in some cases, they can lead to a serious condition called retinal detachment.