Flashing lights, visual floaters and a shadow in the peripheral visual field may indicate a retinal detachment. Early diagnosis and referral of patients for diagnosis and surgical treatment are essential to prevent blindness.
What is the retina and vitreous?
The retina is the light-sensitive neural layer lining the inside of the back of the eye, which is like the ‘wallpaper inside a room’ (Figure 1). It is similar to photographic film in a camera and ‘sees’ the image formed by the front of the eye. The centre of the retina is called the macula, which is responsible for fine central reading sight. The vitreous is a clear, jelly-like fluid (resembling egg-white) that fills the inside of the eye and is attached to the retina at certain parts of the eye. These include the optic nerve, macula, and peripheral retina near the ciliary body where areas of retinal thinning called lattice degeneration can be found. Lattice degeneration occurs in 10% of the general population.