A detached or torn retina is a serious but relatively rare condition of the eye, which requires emergency treatment to prevent permanent vision loss. Your retina is the innermost layer at the back of your eye.
The retina can become detached from its underlying layer, the choroid, the blood vessels which feed the retina. If this happens, vision in the affected region is lost. It is also possible to tear the retina, which lets fluid into the space between the choroid and the retina, again affecting vision.
Some people are more likely to suffer from retinal detachment than others:
A detached retina is painless, so the first signs you will notice are changes in your vision, such as:
Any of these symptoms on their own may indicate other conditions rather than a detached retina, but if any occur, it is a good idea to see your Doctor or Optometrist as soon as possible.
If your retina becomes detached or torn, you will need retinal detachment surgery to repair it to restore or stop any loss of vision. A partial detachment can be treated by a special type of laser treatment called photocoagulation. This fuses the retina to the underlying layer, stopping any fluids that could damage the retina from getting in.
Treatment can also involve a technique called scleral buckling. Silicone bands are sewn to the outside of the eyeball to gently hold the wall of the eye against the retina, allowing it to reattach itself.
If you are worried you may have a detached or torn retina, contact your Optometrist or Doctor immediately. If they are unavailable, visit your nearest A&E department.