Dear What’s Next Readers: I’ve been very lucky. I had a detached retina and did not lose my sight. And if you read this, I might help you save your eyesight too.
A detached retina can happen to anyone. Since 2006, when I had mine, I’ve talked to several people who’ve also had retinal detachment. They all said the same thing. There’s no pain, and there’s often no warning. Most people don’t realize they have one until it’s too late to save their sight.
Often, people find out about a detached retina when they are walking down the street, get a cinder in their eye, and realize they can’t see correctly out the other eye. By that time, it’s often too late to save their sight.
There are symptoms.
Don’t ignore them. A retinal detachment can rob you of your sight in a matter of hours. Don’t put off getting medical care!
– flashes of light Mine looked like a camera flash going off. They could be the beginning of a migraine, or of a lot of other more serious things. Go to the eye doctor. Don’t wait.
– floaters or smudges in your line of vision. Everyone gets them sometimes. If they are persistent, or growing, go to the eye doctor. If you see a whole bunch, it’s an emergency. Don’t wait.
Connie Reece added a clear explanation about floaters in comments: “One point about floaters: they’re normal and harmless. However, if they suddenly increase in number or size, or if they appear like a veil over your vision–that’s when floaters can indicate a retinal detachment.”
– changes in your peripheral vision. If part of your vision is veiled or blocked, go to the eye doctor immediately.
A month ago, I had laser surgery to repair a tear that could have caused another detachment. Today, I got the all-clear. My sight is safe, at least for the forseeable future. I want to make sure yours is too.
And no matter what, see your eye doctor at least once a year for a thorough exam.