When light enters the eye through the cornea and lens, the retina reacts and sends nerve impulses along the optic nerve to the brain, which interprets them as a picture. However, just like pictures cannot be developed if a camera has defective film, clear vision is not possible in an eye with a defective retina.
WHAT SYMPTOMS IS THERE IF SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY RETINA?
It is common to have symptoms such as new floaters, flashes, shadows, or a decrease in vision. Floaters can be common in vision, however a sudden increase in size or number of floaters is a warning sign.
WHY WOULD SURGERY BE NECESSARY?
Surgery is necessary if you develop a hemorrhage inside the eye or if there is a retina tear or detachment.
WHAT IS A RETINAL TEAR?
A majority of the eye is actually a clear jelly called vitreous. This jelly will become liquid by the natural aging process. When the eyeball moves, this liquid will move around the eye and will move against the retina. The liquid (or jelly) is usually loose and easily peels away from the retina. However, occasionally the liquid will adhere to the retina and when it pulls away, it creates a tear. Sometimes, this tear will be along a blood vessel and will cause bleeding in the vitreous cavity (also called vitreous hemorrhage).
WHAT IS A RETINAL DETACHMENT?
After a retinal tear, the vitreous fluid may gradually seep in between the retina and the back inside wall of the eye, causing the retina to detach from the wall. Because the retina is no long properly positioned against the wall of the eye, it may fold or shift away, causing a loss of vision.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR A RETINA TEAR OR DETACHMENT?
Retinal tears or detachments are uncommon and are not caused by straining your eyes, bending or heavy lifting. Risk factors include: