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Sitting at the back of our eyes, the retina is the thin layer of nerves that enables our brains to receive light and transform it into images.
We can think of it as wallpaper lining the inner surface of the globe. Sometimes, however, the retina separates from the eye wall, causing visual loss perceived as a dark shadow spreading centrally from around the edge of our vision.
Prior to this, it is common to see floaters and flashing lights. We call this a retinal detachment, and while the condition is most common in people over the age of 40, it can happen to anyone at any time.
Retinal detachments need to be treated quickly in order to prevent your vision from getting worse. Fortunately, they usually respond very well to surgery: the operation prevents further deterioration and should enable you to achieve a good level of vision afterwards, although this depends on whether or not the central vision has been damaged.