Symptoms and Signs
Flashes of light and floaters may be the initial symptoms of retinal detachment. The patient experiences streaks of light in the periphery of his visual field. He is often able to tell distinctly the quadrant of visual field that is affected. The precise reason of this symptom is the pull of the vitreous over the retina which irritates the visual cells giving an impression of flashes of light.
Floaters are disturbing dark spots that keep moving in front of the patients eyes. They may be due to vitreous condensation due to its degeneration or when associated with flashes are usually due to a small bleed in the vitreous due to a tear in the retina.
Feeling of a shadow or a curtain coming in any part of the vision is an indicator of retinal detachment. The patient should immediately see an eye doctor. The faster it is treated the better is the visual prognosis.
On examination the doctor finds reduced visual acuity if the central retina is detached or a field defect if the peripheral retina is detached. After dilatation of the pupil, the detached retina can directly be seen by the examining doctor with the help of some lenses. Indirect ophthalmoscopy is a very useful means of examination to find out the cause of the detachment. It helps in appropriate management.