Most eye emergencies happen as the result of an accident or injury. However, there is an eye emergency that can seemingly occur out of the blue. Since it can happen to almost anyone at any time, and since it does require immediate treatment when it does occur, it is important that you know about it! This eye emergency is called retinal detachment — and here are all the details.
What is retinal detachment?
Retinal detachment happens when your retina, which is a layer of cells at the back of the eye, peels away from the eye tissue to which it is connected. This can happen spontaneously. It is more common in diabetics and people who have had eye injuries in the past, and your risk increases with age. However, there have been 20-year-olds who have had detached retinas in the past, so it is something to watch out for at any age.
What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?
If your retina detaches or starts to detach, you will usually start seeing floaters in your visual fieldor flashes of light in one eye. Your vision may become blurry, or you may feel as though a curtain is being pulled down over your visual field. You won't, however, feel any pain. This is why far too many people wait too long to seek treatment for retinal detachment; it is not painful, so they assume it is not serious.
Why must retinal detachment be dealt with immediately?
The longer your retina is detached, the less likely a surgeon is to be able to repair it. Once the retina detaches, its cells begin to die. If too many of them die before you seek help, your vision damage will be permanent.
What do you do if you suspect your retina has detached?
Call your eye doctor if there office is open. They will probably tell you to go to the nearest emergency room, and they might meet you there. If your eye doctor's office is not open, just head to the emergency room. They will probably contact an eye specialist to come see you right away.
If your retina is, in fact, detached, you will be given immediate emergency surgery to repair the problem.
A detached retina is a true eye emergency, even though it does not hurt. Be aware of these symptoms so you know what to do if you or a friend experiences this problem. Contact an emergency eye care service immediately if you feel any symptoms.