The retina is a ten-layered structure found at the back of the eye that connects to the brain via the optic nerve.  A retinal detachment therefore, is when this structure comes away from the back “wall” of eye.  This is a medical emergency as a detachment means that light can no longer pass directly through to the back of the retina in order to relay information to the brain. If not treated urgently, permanent visual loss can occur.


So how do you get a retinal detachment?

A number of things can cause RD but some of the common risk factors include:

    • Shortsightedness > -4.00DS
    • Trauma to the eye or head
    • Retinal tears/holes/degenerations
    • Complicated cataract surgery
    • Previous RD in the other eye
    • Family history of RD


How do you know if you have or are having a retinal detachment?

A retinal detachment will come on very suddenly and affect part, if not all of the vision in the affected eye. Often patients will also notice at least one of the following symptoms:

– a sudden rush of floaters, often red/brown in colour

– a recent onset of flashing lights

– a reduction in central vision

– a shadow/net curtain/veil appearance in all or part of your eye


If you experience any of these symptoms, it is VERY important that you seek medical attention immediately. If your local optician cannot see you on the same day or your symptoms occur out of hours, go to your nearest eye hospital.