Detached Retina: How Does It Happen?

If you’re wondering how a detached retina occurs, you may be intrigued to find there are a variety of causes. However, the detachment most commonly starts when the gel in the center of the eye, vitreous gel, separates and shrinks from the retina. This is called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). Although PVD is a normal event in aging, when the gel is shrinking, it can sometimes pull so hard on the retina that it tears. This can lead to a retinal detachment.

Below are some of the other causes of retinal detachment:

  • Injury to the head or eye, which can cause the retina to tear.
  • An excess growth of scar tissue, known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by diabetes and can tug the retina into a tear.
  • Fluid buildup under the retina, due to disease or inflammation in eye tissues.

Unfortunately, retinal detachment cannot truly be prevented, but seeing your eye doctor regularly is the best way to maintain eye health. If you ever experience blurring, floaters, flashing lights or other abnormal hindrances in your field of vision, you should always contact your eye care professional right away. He or she will be able to determine if you should see an ophthalmologist for a more comprehensive exam.

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