Retinal Detachment: What Are the Signs of a Detached Retina?

Your retina is the tissue in the back of your eye. Like wallpaper, it’s attached to the inside of your eye and is designed to lay flat for proper functioning. However, in some emergency cases, your retina can pull away from its normal position. Like a crack in wallpaper, this sometimes happens and is called a tear in your retina and can lead to a retinal detachment.

Related: “Diabetic Retinopathy: What Is It & Are You At Risk?”

Example of a retinal tear leading to a retinal detachment.

A few of the main risk factors for having a retinal detachment include:

  • Being nearsighted.
  • A previous eye injury or eye surgery.
  • A family history of retinal detachments.
  • Thin areas in your retina that can lead to a tear (lattice degeneration).

Related: “Macular Degeneration: What Is It & Are You At Risk?”

Important information about a retinal detachment.

A retinal detachment is an eye emergency that can cause permanent vision damage if not evaluated and fixed soon.

Symptoms that may indicate that you have a torn or detached retina include:

  • A sudden increase in spots or spider webs in your vision, known as floaters.
  • Flashing lights in your vision (like a camera flash or a lightning bolt).
  • A dark shadow or curtain in your vision.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a retinal detachment, make sure you schedule an urgent appointment with your local eye care professional today.

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Omar Punjabi, MD is a retina specialist and vitreo-retinal surgeon at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates (CEENTA) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He completed his fellowship training in retinal diseases and vitreo-retinal surgery at the prestigious Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Punjabi has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles and presented numerous scientific abstracts and text-book chapters. During fellowship he received the Best Fellow Teacher of the Year award, and was the recipient of the Heed Fellowship from the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation. He has won several academic awards and scholarships during his residency training at Northwestern University and during medical school. Prior to his residency training, he spent a year as a research fellow at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, FL and worked on the development of the spectral domain OCT. He has received several research awards including the Beem-Fisher Award in 2010, the Research Award from Northwestern University in 2010 and the National Eye Institute travel grant in 2006.

Dr. Punjabi is an active member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Retina Specialists, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the Society of Heed Fellows.

His areas of interest include medical and surgical diseases of the retina and vitreous, including retinal detachment, age-related macular degeneration, retinal vascular diseases, diabetic retinopathy and ocular trauma.