Light rays travel through the cornea, pupil and lens and focus onto the retina. The retina then converts the light rays to impulses that travel to and are interpreted by the brain. A healthy retina promotes clear vision.
The inner part of our eye is filled with a clear gel called the vitreous, which is attached to the retina. As you age, your vitreous will condense and shrink, pulling away from the retina. As a result, you may experience flashes or floaters in your field of vision.
Typically, the vitreous can pull away from the retina without issue. However, sometimes the vitreous can pull hard enough to tear the retina, causing significant vision impairment. When the retina tears, fluid can pass through and cause the retina to dislodge from the back of the eye.
When the retina is lifted off the back of the eye, it is called a retinal detachment. A detached retina cannot function, and vision is severely impacted. Without prompt treatment which often involves surgery, a retinal detachment often leads to significant vision loss.
Symptoms of Retinal Detachment
If your retina tears or begins to detach, you’ll likely experience the following:
- Increased size and number of floaters
- Persistent flashes of light
- Having a shadow appear in your peripheral vision
- Seeing a “gray curtain” move across your field of view
- Sudden vision loss