Certain individuals are at increased risk for “retinal detachment,” which occurs when the delicate light-sensitive membrane (retina) separates from the back of the eye. People with a high degree of nearsightedness are susceptible to this problem because their eyes are longer than average from front to back. Others at high risk for retinal detachment are those with a family history of the condition; cataract- and glaucoma-surgery patients; and diabetics (who are at risk for “diabetic retinopathy,” which leads to the formation of new blood vessels on the retina). While retinal detachment is a medical emergency, approximately 90% of cases are treatable. Early detection of symptoms such as the appearance of persistent flashes of bright light should prompt immediate treatment.
P.S. One warning sign of retinal detachment includes the appearance of an unusual amount of black dots (“floaters”) in the field of vision; a dark curtain spreading across the visual field; and new, unexplained blurred vision.