How Do I Know If I Have Retinal Detachment? By Gordon Wong, OD on April 15, 2024

Woman holding eye in pain

Retinal detachment is an emergency condition in which part of the retina is pulled away from the supportive tissue at the back of the eye. When left unaddressed, it can cause permanent vision loss within a few days, even hours, of occurrence. If you’re asking yourself, “Do I have retinal detachment?”, then it’s already time to visit an eye doctor.

Part of what makes retinal detachment such a dangerous situation is that it’s painless and can happen seemingly out of nowhere. Most of my patients at GW Eye Associates in La Jolla, CA, who are affected by the condition don’t even realize they’re in urgent need of medical attention, but there are a few key indicators you can use to determine the presence of an issue. Read on:

To be clear, if you even slightly suspect you have a detached retina, you need to drop what you’re doing and call an eye doctor now.

At GW Eye Associates in La Jolla, we offer emergency appointments and will prioritize your care. Dr. Wildon Wong and I can officially diagnose your condition and coordinate vision-saving emergency surgery with a leading ophthalmologist in the San Diego area.

Warning Signs You May Have Retinal Detachment

You Notice Sudden Vision Changes

It’s relatively normal to see some floaters, flashers, and other small vision irregularities as part of your day-to-day, but a sudden, marked increase may indicate the presence of retinal detachment.

People affected by this condition often report seeing sudden flurries of floaters, bursts or flashes of light as if they have been punched or struck in the eye, and a rapid darkening of the peripheral vision, like a curtain being pulled across a stage.

Again, some floaters and flashers are to be expected as we age, but quick, noticeable changes should be brought to an eye doctor’s attention immediately.

You Recently Had an Eye Injury

A recent eye injury is one of the most common causes of retinal detachment. Because a detached retina isn’t painful, it can be easy to get back to business as usual without realizing the danger you’re in. If you’ve recently been struck in the eye, it’s always in your best interest to have a thorough examination from an eye doctor to be safe.

You may also run an increased risk of a detached retina if you have previously had eye surgery or experienced retinal detachment in the same eye. If you suspect a problem with an eye that has already received medical attention, it’s all the more reason to contact a doctor right away.

You See Irregularities on the Amsler Grid Test

The Amsler Grid is a simple at-home test patients with age-related macular degeneration use to regularly check their vision. If you don’t have AMD, an abnormal result may indicate retinal detachment instead. Take a look at how the test works:

Amsler grid test

  1. Position the grid at a comfortable reading distance

  2. Cover one eye and use the other eye to focus directly on the dot in the center for 10 seconds

  3. Uncover the eye and repeat the test with the other eye

The grid should remain straight and the dot should remain centered. If you notice waving, smudged, distorted lines or a moving dot, extra dots, or no dot at all, it’s time to call an eye doctor. You may have retinal detachment or another serious retinal condition that requires urgent care. 

Don’t Risk Your Vision — Call GW Eye Associates Now

Retinal detachment will not get better on its own. You run the risk of permanent vision loss without prompt attention from an eye doctor. At GW Eye Associates in La Jolla, serving Del Mar and all of San Diego County, we are standing by to arrange the care you need, when you need it. You can get in touch by sending us an online message or calling us right now.

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GW Eye Associates

Our team at GW Eye Associates in La Jolla and Del Mar can provide a wide range of high-quality eye care services. Dr. Gordon G. Wong and Dr. Wildon C. Wong have over 45 years of combined experience and belong to several prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Optometric Association

For more information about our services, contact our office online or call us at (858) 454-4699 today.

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