Retinal Detachment

A Retinal Detachment is a serious eye problem which effects one if every 10,000 people. The retina is the thin layer that lines the inside of the back of the eye.  It senses light and sends images to the brain.  A Retinal Detachment occurs when the retina becomes separated from the back wall of the eye.  When the retina becomes detached, it’s blood supply is reduced and it’s ability to process light rays is impaired.  If left untreated, the retina becomes useless as it can no longer transmit information to the brain and the eye becomes blind.  However, if a tear is found before the detachment has started, it can be treated with laser surgery or freezing the area to create a seal around the tear, preventing detachment from developing.

Causes of Retinal Detachment/Tears:

The most common reason for a hole or tear in the retina is the vitreous jelly shrinking and pulling on the retina.  As part of the normal aging process, the clear fluid which fills the inner cavity of the eye begins to shrink and pull away from the retina. Most of the shrinking causes no damage to the eye. However, sometimes the vitreous remains attached to the retina and then the shrinking of the vitreous causes the retina to tear.

Left untreated, Retinal Tears can lead to Retinal Detachments.  Once a Retinal Tear is present, fluid from the vitreous may seep through the tear into the space between the retina and the wall of the eye.  The fluid causes the retina to separate from the back of the eye or detach.  The part of the retina which becomes detached will not function properly, resulting in vision loss.

Symptoms of Retinal Detachments/Tears:

Retinal Tears may develop without any noticeable symptoms.  In other cases, the vitreous gel pulling away from the retina may cause the patient to see flashes of light.  Floaters, which appear as black spots or lines in the field of vision, may result from bleeding of torn retinal vessels or the formation of small clumps of vitreous matter.

A detached retina usually occurs in one eye, not both eyes, at a time.  Once Retinal Detachment occurs, the patient may notice a wavy or watery quality in their vision. Warning signs of a detached retina include a gradual or sudden increase in floaters in one eye, a gradual or sudden increase in flashes of light in one eye, or the gradual or sudden appearance of a dark cloud or “curtain” over field of vision.  Occasionally, detachment occurs suddenly and is accompanied by a total loss of vision.


Retinal Tears and Detachments are serious problems which require immediate treatment.  Persons who are severely nearsighted or have a family history of Retinal Detachment should have regular eye examinations to detect any changes in the vitreous or retina.  Persons who have suffered a serious eye injury should also be examined for retinal damage.  Many retinal tears can be treated with lasers or with a freezing probe (cryopexy).  Once a retina becomes detached, surgery is necessary to seal the tear and push the retina back into it’s normal position.  With early diagnosis, retinal tears can be treated before Retinal Detachment and loss of vision occurs.

Print Friendly

Connect with us on Facebook

Come See Us

2205 S. Seneca
Wichita, KS 67213

M-F: 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


General Optometric Services

Contact Lenses

Full Service Dispensary with in-house Laboratory

Sports Eyewear and Sunglasses

Cataract Surgery Co-management

Refractive Surgery Co-management

Diagnosis and Management of Non-Surgical Eye Disease

Foreign Body Removal

Dry Eye Treatment and Therapy

Low Vision Services