Retinal Detachment is considered a medical emergency, in which the retina peels away from the underlying layer of tissue which supports it, leading to vision loss and blindness. If not treated within 24 - 72 hours, the condition may result in permanent blindness.
Often caused by trauma or injury to the eye, the tear, or detachment, allows fluid to seep through and find its way under the retina, peeling it away as it moves through.
Some signs of Retinal Detachment include brief flashes of light, a sudden and dramatic increase in floaters, and in some cases a heavy sensation in the eye. Risks factors from injury or a family history of Retinal Detachment should be taken into account when considering an examination, since the condition may be mitigated if warning signs are caught early. Early detection of retinal tears can be treated with laser surgery or by freezing.
Diagnosis of Retinal Detachment can be made by ophthalmoscopy or ultrasound. Several methods of treatment are now available, each consisting of locating and closing the breaks which have formed in the retina, and relieving vitreoretinal traction. Treatments are effective, with 85% of cases considered successful after the first treatment, and the remaining 15% requiring 2 or more surgeries. Currently, 95% of cases can be repaired successfully. The prognosis is very good for the patient, although vision may not be as clear as prior to the detachment.