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What are the symptoms of a detached retina?
- The retina is a thin layer of nerves that line the inside of the eye
- When tears form in the retina, the mechanism that holds it in place is disrupted and detaches from the eye wall
- The warning signs of a retinal detachment include floaters, flashes of light or dark shadows affecting vision
The retina is a thin layer of nerves that line the inside of the eye. It is sensitive to light and you need it to be able to see. When tears form in the retina, the mechanism that holds it in place is disrupted and detaches from the eye wall. This is a bit like when a bubble forms under wallpaper and separates it from the wall.
How a retinal detachment occurs
The retina is torn when a normal, age-related process goes slightly wrong. This process is the natural separation of the vitreous humour (a colourless, jelly-like substance) from the retina. Once the retina is detached from the nourishing tissue underneath, it can cause rapid sight loss if it isn’t detected or treated quickly.
Who is at risk?
As this condition usually occurs as part of the eye’s natural ageing process, anyone can develop a retinal detachment. However, you’re at higher risk if you’re short sighted, have had cataract surgery or recently suffered a severe direct blow to the eye.
Warning signs of a retinal detachment:
- Dots or lines (floaters) suddenly appear in your vision or suddenly increase in number
- Flashes of light in your vision
- Dark ‘curtain’ or shadow moving across your vision
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important that you are seen by an eye specialist as soon as possible; ideally within 24-48 hours.
What is the treatment for a detached retina?
If you’re found to have a detached retina, surgery will probably be required to repair it. If the detachment can be diagnosed and treated quickly and successfully, most of your vision will be restored.
Experts in the treatment of retinal detachment
At Moorfields Private, highly experienced specialist vitreo-retinal consultant eye surgeons perform the procedure - which involves sealing the holes in the retina and reattaching it. Our patients are treated in dedicated private theatres and the consultant surgeon is backed up by a specialist team of nurses and support staff.
Once the surgery is complete you will recover in a comfortable private room, in our brand-new admission suite. You’ll usually be able to return home the same day and the eye will take about two to six weeks to heal. Your surgeon will make an appointment to see you for a check-up, usually within seven to 14 days of your operation. Over the next few months, your sight will continue to improve.
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