Retinal detachment is a condition whereby the retina pulls away from its usual position. When it detaches, vision becomes blurry. It is a sight-threatening condition that must be attended to urgently. If not treated within two or three days, retinal detachment can cause permanent loss of vision.

The retina refers to a layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. It senses light and transmits messages to the brain through the optic nerve. There is a vitreous (a clear gel) located in the middle of the eye and attached to the retina. Sometimes, small pieces of the vitreous may cast shadows on the retina causing dots or specks called floaters. Due to age, the vitreous may pull away from the retina hard enough to cause a retinal tear. Fluid may pass through the tear forcing the retina to shift from its back position, hence a retinal detachment.

Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of retinal detachment include:

  • Floaters which suddenly increase in number
  • A decrease in vision
  • Flashes (lightning streaks) which suddenly appear
  • Shadows that appear in the periphery of the eye
  • A gray curtain moving in a person’s field of vision