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SPACE COAST DAILY: Retinal Detachment – Severe PVD Is An Ocular Emergency

If you think of your eye as a camera the retina would be the film. It is a thin layer of nerve tissue that lines the inside back wall of the eye and is composed of over 120 million photoreceptors, which are responsible for sending the signal of an image to the brain via the optic nerve.

The back chamber of the eye (behind the lens) is filled with a jelly like substance called vitreous. As we age, the gel becomes more liquefied and tends to separate from the retina, causing what is called Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD).

The majority of the time when a PVD occurs people notice a few new floaters. However, in more severe cases the vitreous gel can pull abruptly away from the retina resulting in a tear of the retina.

A retinal tear is an ocular emergency because it can lead to a retinal detachment. The incidence of retinal detachment is about 1/5,000 people per year, and without intervention it frequently leads to permanent blindness.

Immediate dilated eye exam by an eye doctor is recommended if you experience any of the following:

• Flashes of light (quick bursts lasting only a second) • Sudden dramatic increase of floaters (more than just occasional few) this can be an indication of bleeding inside the eye from a tear. • Floaters with a clouding of vision • Dark curtain or shadow in periphery of vision that doesn’t go away.

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