When we are young, the clear gel-like vitreous in the eye is attached to the retina. As we age, at some point in our lives, the vitreous will usually degenerate and pull away from the retina, which is called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). Sometimes, this may be triggered by eye injuries or excessive eye rubbing. PVD can cause symptoms of floaters and flashes for a few weeks, but in most cases does not cause any major problems. However, in a small proportion of patients, the degenerated vitreous can pull and tear the retina, which carries the risk of visual loss.
If you have a high degree of myopia (short-sightedness), you could have a higher risk of retinal detachment. This is because high myopia causes abnormal thinning of the retina, which may be more fragile and predisposed to developing retinal holes or tears.
Eye injuries, excessive eye rubbing, or recent eye surgery (such as cataract surgery) can also increase risk. A history of retinal tears or detachment in your family members or close relatives is also a risk factor.
Regular eye examinations can pick up problems early. Prompt treatment for a retinal tear can often prevent the development of retinal detachment.
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