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Signs And Symptoms Of Retinal Detachment

Signs And Symptoms Of Retinal Detachment

The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of your eye. The retina receives the light that the lens has focussed and then converts the light into neural signals and sends these signals to the brain for visual recognition. Due to the retina’s vital role in vision, damage to the retina can cause permanent vision loss and blindness. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is pulled away from its normal position at the back of the eye. A retinal detachment usually only occurs in one eye and is considered a medical emergency.

Signs And Symptoms Of Retinal Detachment 

The symptoms of retinal detachment often come on quickly. If the retinal detachment is not treated right away, more of the retina can detach—which increases the risk of permanent vision loss or blindness. Signs and symptoms of retinal detachment include:

  • Sudden, brief flashes of light in the central and peripheral vision
  • Significant increase in the number of floaters (black spots or squiggly lines in field of vision)
  • A shadow appearing in peripheral vision which gradually becomes more noticeable in central vision
  • A sensation that a transparent curtain is coming down over the field of vision
  • Heavy eyes

If you notice any of the signs and symptoms occurring with your vision, visit your optometrist or emergency room right away to receive treatment. 

Who Is At Risk For Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment can happen to anyone, however, some individuals are more at risk than others. You are at higher risk if:

  • A family member has had retinal detachment before
  • You have suffered from a serious eye injury
  • You have diabetic retinopathy (a condition that affects the blood vessels in the eye of individuals with diabetes)
  • You suffer from extreme myopia (nearsightedness)

Treatments For Retinal Detachment

If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of retinal detachment, it is crucial that you visit your eye doctor as soon as possible. They will perform retinal imaging to take a high-resolution photo of the back of your eye to confirm that your retina has pulled away from its position. 

Depending on how much your retina has detached and what type of retinal detachment you have, your optometrist may recommend one of these treatment options to repair any damage that has occured to the retina as well as move it back into its correct position: 

Cryotherapy: This treatment involves using a small probe to freeze and destroy abnormal or diseased tissue at the back of the eye. The procedure produces a delicate scar that connects the retina to the back of the eye. 

Laser Treatment: A laser beam is directed through an ophthalmoscope ( a handheld device used to see the interior of the eye). A laser burns through the retinal tear resulting in scarring tissue that re-attaches the retina to the wall of the eye. 

Book Your Comprehensive Eye Exam Today

Retinal detachment is a serious condition, and the symptoms should not be taken lightly. The condition can quickly lead to permanent alterations to your vision or blindness. The best way to prevent retinal detachment from occurring is by visiting your eye doctor for regular eye exams. They will be able to use retinal imaging to detect early signs of retinal detachment before you begin to notice the uncomfortable symptoms. Although there is not a way to prevent retinal detachment from happening, visits with your optometrist can help determine if you are at risk of the condition. 

Our team of experienced eye doctors at Market Mall Optometry in NW Calgary understands just how important regular eye exams are for your overall health. To book a comprehensive eye exam, contact Market Mall Optometry by calling 403-286-4884 or filling out our online contact form.


Q: How often should I visit my optometrist?
A: Adults over the age of 18 should visit their eye doctor once every two years. Individuals 65+ should visit their eye doctor annually. 

Q: Does retinal detachment hurt?
A: Retinal detachment is painless. However, the symptoms of the condition such as floaters can be irritating and uncomfortable. 

Q: What is retinal imaging?
A: Retinal imaging helps your optometrist better assess the health of your eye by using a high-resolution camera that takes a photo of the interior of your eye. 

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