What is the most common cause of retinal detachment?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common cause of retinal detachment?

The most common cause of retinal detachment is a process called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). As people age, the vitreous, which is a gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye and helps it maintain a round shape, begins to shrink and pull away from the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. In most cases, vitreous detachment is harmless. However, sometimes the vitreous can be firmly attached to the retina, and as it shrinks, it may create traction, causing the retina to tear. Once the retina has torn, fluid can pass through the tear and accumulate behind the retina, causing it to detach from the underlying tissues. This is what is known as a retinal detachment. It is more common in people over the age of 50, in individuals who are highly nearsighted, and in those who have had cataract surgery or who have experienced a serious eye injury. Since retinal detachment is a serious and potentially sight-threatening condition, it’s essential that it is treated promptly.

Preventing retinal detachment involves taking steps to reduce risk factors and being vigilant about eye health. Here are some measures that can help:

  1. Regular Eye Exams: Have your eyes checked regularly by an eye care professional, especially if you are over the age of 40, are nearsighted, or have a family history of retinal detachment. This can help in early detection of issues that could lead to retinal detachment.
  2. Manage Underlying Health Conditions: If you have conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, manage them effectively as they can affect blood vessels in the eyes and increase the risk of retinal problems.
  3. Wear Protective Eyewear: If you are involved in activities that could result in eye injury, such as certain sports or jobs that involve flying debris, wear protective eyewear.
  4. Be Cautious with High-Impact Activities: If you are highly nearsighted or have a history of retinal issues, be cautious with high-impact sports and activities that might cause a sudden jolt to the head.
  5. Know the Symptoms: Be aware of the symptoms of retinal detachment, which include sudden flashes of light, a sudden increase in floaters, a shadow over your visual field, or the feeling like a curtain has been drawn over part of your vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
  6. Avoid Straining the Eyes: Avoid activities that put excessive strain on your eyes, especially if you have risk factors for retinal detachment.
  7. Consider Treatment for High Myopia: If you are highly nearsighted, talk to your eye care professional about treatments that may reduce your risk of retinal detachment.
  8. Follow Post-Surgical Instructions: If you have undergone eye surgery, including cataract surgery, follow your eye doctor’s instructions carefully to reduce the risk of complications, including retinal detachment.


It’s important to note that while these steps can help reduce the risk of retinal detachment, they cannot eliminate it entirely. Being proactive in maintaining eye health and promptly addressing any concerning symptoms is key to preventing serious complications associated with retinal detachment.

Diabetes can cause retina detachment - Louie Eye Care

Related FAQs

Yes, there are cosmetic contact lenses available for people who wish to change or enhance the appearance of their eyes. These lenses come in various colours and designs, allowing you to alter your eye colour or create special effects. Cosmetic contact lenses are available both with and without vision correction. However, it’s crucial to obtain these lenses from a reputable source and with a prescription from an eye care professional. Wearing non-prescription cosmetic lenses without proper guidance can lead to eye discomfort, infections, or even depriving the cornea of necessary oxygen to function which can lead to serious health and vision issues.

Allergies can cause eye irritation and discomfort, making wearing contact lenses challenging for some individuals. However, certain types of contact lenses, such as daily disposables or lenses made from specific materials, might be more suitable for allergy sufferers. Consult your optometrist to discuss your allergy symptoms and determine the most appropriate contact lens options or if prescription allergy eye drops are recommended. Proper lens care, including regular cleaning and avoiding allergens that exacerbate symptoms, is essential to manage allergies while wearing contact lenses.

Contact lenses can exacerbate symptoms in individuals with dry eyes. However, some contact lens options are designed to alleviate discomfort for those with dry eyes. Specialized lenses, such as those with high moisture content or designed for extended wear, might be suitable. Your optometrist can recommend specific contact lens types or prescribe lubricating eye drops to help manage dry eye symptoms while wearing lenses. It’s essential to discuss your dry eye condition with your eye care professional before starting or continuing contact lens wear to ensure the best possible comfort and eye health.

If a contact lens feels stuck in your eye, try not to panic. Firstly, wash your hands thoroughly and use lubricating eye drops approved for contact lens wear to moisten your eye. Gently massage your upper eyelid while looking in the direction of the affected eye to help dislodge the lens. If the lens remains stuck, avoid excessive rubbing, as this can cause irritation. Try blinking or using rewetting drops to see if the lens moves. If unsuccessful, seek immediate assistance from an eye care professional to safely and effectively remove the contact lens.

While contact lenses are safe when used properly, there are risks associated with their wear. These risks include eye infections, corneal ulcers, allergic reactions, dry eyes, and discomfort. Improper hygiene, extended wear, sleeping with lenses on, and swimming or showering with lenses can increase the likelihood of these complications. It’s crucial to follow your optometrist’s guidelines, practice good hygiene, and adhere to wearing schedules to minimize the risks associated with contact lens wear. Immediate consultation with an eye care professional is necessary if you experience any discomfort, redness, or vision changes while wearing contact lenses.

It’s highly advisable to avoid wearing contact lenses while swimming or showering. Water, including tap water, pools, hot tubs, lakes, and oceans, contains microorganisms that can adhere to your lenses and cause eye infections. These microorganisms can lead to severe eye conditions, such as bacterial or fungal keratitis, which can be painful and sight-threatening. Always remove your contact lenses before any water activities to prevent potential eye infections and complications.

West Edmonton Vision Clinic

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