Retinal Detachment

The simple appearance of floaters within someones vision, may herald the onset of retinal detachment a week or two later.

The commonest reason for detached retina is secondary to a retinal tear. This is termed Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment. It is important that people who have symptoms of posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) are checked for retinal tears, since about 1 in 20 of people with PVD may develop detachment within a few weeks. If tears are identified early they can be treated with laser to prevent detachment.

Which of the following patients require a retinal check for tears?

  • A patient who developed floaters in his left eye 6 months ago?
  • A patient who developed floaters in his left eye 3 weeks ago?
  • A patient who developed floaters in his left eye yesterday?
  • A patient who had 30 minutes of flashing lights during a meeting at lunchtime?
  • A patient who last night experienced flashes of light when they switched off the lights to get into bed?
  • A patient who developed a floater 3 weeks ago and was examined in the local eye department, who now has more floaters?

2 thoughts on “Retinal Detachment

    1. stapsell Post author

      I would not worry about the first one (longstanding). The 30 mins flashing lights during a meeting sounds like migraine aura: I would ask some more questions about the nature of the flashes of lights and
      associated headache or nausea. If the clinical picture was clearly migraine, I would not check the eyes.


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