What Causes Retina Detachment?

wiseGEEK Writer

Retina detachment occurs when the retina, which is located inside the back of the eye, begins to separate from the blood vessels (choroid) that supply it and help keep it healthy. This is an urgent condition, because as with most of the rest of the body tissues, separation from blood supply can lead to quick degeneration of the retina, creating tissue death or permanent damage. There are several potential causes of retina detachment, which aren’t always predictable, though often symptoms of the condition are fairly obvious and treatment outcome may be good when people see their doctors promptly.

The retina is normally connected to blood vessels in the back of the eye.
The retina is normally connected to blood vessels in the back of the eye.

Sometimes people are more are risk for retina detachment via genetic inheritance. Particularly juvenile boys may have a genetic condition called x-linked retinoschisis. Regular eye examinations may catch this condition, so that kids and their parents can be watchful of any symptoms that might suggest detachment is occurring. Unfortunately this is one condition that doesn’t respond well to repair, and vision may be significantly impaired.

As the eyes age, the vitreous liquid that fills them may change,and can sometimes pull away from the back of the eye.
As the eyes age, the vitreous liquid that fills them may change,and can sometimes pull away from the back of the eye.

The cause of retina detachment is occasionally linked to illnesses that inflame the retina, creating retinitis. Such illnesses can include cytomegalovirus retinitis and sometimes complications from herpes simplex I. People with immune deficiencies may be most at risk for retinal complications from illnesses, in those just mentioned and in conditions like toxoplasmosis.

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Retinal detachment can lead to vision changes and disorders.
Retinal detachment can lead to vision changes and disorders.

Other causes of retinal detachment may include deterioration of the eyes due to conditions like diabetes. Alternate causes can include nearsightedness. A very narrow structure of the eye may make a person prone to injury to the retina.

A head injury may cause a detached retina.
A head injury may cause a detached retina.

Simply aging may also result in retinal detachment. As the eyes age, the vitreous liquid that fills them may change, and can sometimes pull away from the back of the eye. If this occurs with force, it may damage the retina.

Juvenile boys may have a genetic condition called x-linked retinoschisis, which increases the odds of retina detachment.
Juvenile boys may have a genetic condition called x-linked retinoschisis, which increases the odds of retina detachment.

Another main cause of retina detachment is trauma. Any type of trauma that tears the retina and allows fluid to leak through it runs the risk of separating the retina from the choroid, as fluid gathers between the two. Many people with absolutely no health conditions might suffer detachment in a trauma setting.

It is very important to recognize symptoms of retina detachment. These could include seeing floaters, which some people call silver bugs. Many also note being able to see what they might call a curtain drop before their eyes, which obstructs their vision briefly. For a minute or less, vision goes dark essentially. Alternately, people have described vision suddenly blurring, and the presence of occasional flashes of light. It cannot be overstated that such symptoms may indicate very serious problems that require immediate care.

Diabetes may cause retinal detachment.
Diabetes may cause retinal detachment.

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Discussion Comments

anon79135

My vitreous detached in both eyes, watching

and monitoring possible retina detachments.

Lots of floaters, flashing in the dark, some headache and sometimes stabbing pains in both eyes, also sometimes a feeling of the eyes being stuck in the sockets in the early morning hours right after waking up.

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