Retinal detachment

Although this is a more serious eye condition, it can be treated in its varying stages. It’s usually related to changes in the eye as we age, so regular eye tests are essential for early detection and prevention.

What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?

  • Flashes of light in the eye
  • A sudden increase in the number of floaters in one eye – it might look like there’s a cobweb across your vision
  • Appearance of a curtain coming across your vision – this could mean the retina is detaching

Without early treatment, retinal detachment could lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye. So if you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important that you see an eyecare professional as soon as possible.

What causes retinal detachment?

The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of your eye. It’s responsible for receiving light and translating it into electrical signals to send to the brain, where it creates the images we see.

Sometimes the retina can detach from its position, becoming separated from its blood supply that provides it with essential nutrients and oxygen. This is most commonly caused by a tear or hole in the retina, or sometimes after an eye injury.

Risk factors

This condition is more likely to occur in people who:

  • Are very short sighted
  • Have had cataract surgery
  • Have suffered an injury, or direct blow to the eye
  • Have had a retinal detachment in the other eye
  • Have a family history of retinal detachment

What help is available?

If your optometrist suspects that you have a retinal detachment, they will refer you to the hospital, immediately, or to see a specialist for further investigation.

Treatment will normally depend on the extent of the detachment or tear. There are a number of surgical procedures that involve sealing any tears, reducing the pull on the retina, or moving it back into position for reattachment. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will be able to talk you through treatment options in more detail.

The earlier a retinal detachment can be treated, the greater the chances of restoring good vision. That’s why regular eye tests are so important. If you have any concerns about any symptoms you’re experiencing, come in and see us as soon as possible.

Did you know?

AA Members are entitled to a free eye test (valued at $60), once every two years. Remember to present your AA Membership card in store.

Frequently asked questions

Free exam for AA Members applies to standard eye examinations only, normally valued at $60. Excludes contact lens examination and visual field checks. Limited to one per AA Member every two years. Available to current AA Members upon presentation of AA Membership card.