Retinal detachment constitutes a medical emergency. A retinal detachment occurs when the retina physically pulls away or separates from the structure of the inner eye. With appropriate and immediate surgical treatment, the retina can be re–attached and prevent permanent vision loss.

Unlike the occasional floater mentioned previously, the sudden onset of many floaters, sudden flashes, clouded vision, and blurred vision could indicate possible retinal detachment. If these symptoms occur, you will likely recognize them as something that needs immediate treatment.

Detached retinas can occur for several reasons — trauma, advanced diabetes, or an inflammatory eye disorder. Natural changes to the eye due to aging may also cause retinal detachment. In addition to age, other risk factors for developing a detached retina include: previous detachment in one eye; family history; extreme nearsightedness; previous eye surgery (e.g., cataract removal), injury or trauma; and weak areas of the peripheral retina.

The only way to repair a detached retina is with surgery. Ophthalmologists commonly use one of several corrective procedures and sometimes in conjunction with other treatments.

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