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The retina is a nerce layer at the back of your eye that senses light and sends images toyour brain.


An eye is like a camera.  The lens in teh front of the eye focuses light onto the retina.  You can think of the retina as the film that lines the back of a camera.


A retinal detachment occurs whent he retina is pulled away from its normal position.  The retina doesnot work when it is detached.  Vision is blurred, just as a photograph would be blurry if the film were loose inside the camera.  A retinal detachment is a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness unless treated. 


A clear gel called the viteous fills the middle of the eye.  AS we get older, the vitreous may pull away from its attachment to the retina at the back of the eye.  Usually ths vitreous separates fromthe retina without causing problems.  But sometimes the vitreous pulls hard enough to tear the retina in one or more places.  Fluid may pass through the retinal tear, lifting the retina off the back of the eye, much as wallpaper can peel off a wall. 


The following conditions increase the chance of having a retinal detachment:

     - nearsightedness

     - previous cataract surgery

     - glaucoma

     - severe injury

     - previous retinal detachment in your other eye

     - family history of retinal detachments


Early symptoms that may indicate the presence of a retinal detachment are:

     - flashing lights

     - new floaters

     - shadow in the side of your field of vision

     - gray curtain moving across your vision


These symptoms do not always mean a retinal detachment is present; however, you should see your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.  


Your ophthamologist can diagnose retinal deatchment during an eye examination and will dilate the pupils of your eye.  Some retinal detachments are found during routine eye exams. 




Detached & Torn Retina

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