Retinal detachment is a serious eye emergency and can lead to permanent vision loss. There are different causes of retinal detachment, including genetics, injury or trauma to the eye, diabetes, eye surgery and age, and people with higher degrees with short-sightedness (high myopia) are at much greater risk.
In a highly short-sighted (myopic) eye, the eyeball is physically elongated and stretched, compared to a normal eye. This causes the layers of the eye and the retina to be thinner than normal and at greater risk of being torn. A person with -6.00 of short-sightedness has a 22 times higher risk of retinal detachment than a person with normal eyesight. For this reason we advise that people with high myopia avoid activities such as impact sports, sky diving and bungy jumping.
For kids with progressive short-sightedness, our SightControl treatment program can prevent the development of high myopia and lessen their lifetime risk of retinal detachment and other serious eye conditions.
Retinal detachment occurs when the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye is lifted or pulled away, resulting in sudden loss of vision in the part of the eye where it occurs. If detected and diagnosed promptly, vision may be restored with surgery by an retinal eye specialist to reattach the retina, but if a detachment is left for too long without treatment permanent loss of vision may result.
Symptoms to watch out for include: a sudden increase in floaters in your vision (grey or black specks, spots or lines), momentary flashes of light (like an arc or an flash of lightning) in your side vision, a shadow or veil moving across your vision, and sudden onset of blurred vision in one eye.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, particularly if you have a high degree of short-sightedness or a family history of retinal detachment, see an eye care practitioner immediately.