skip to main content

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a serious medical condition that can lead to loss of vision and even blindness if it is not detected and treated appropriately. Retinal detachment affects about one in 20,000 people. The short sighted are at particularly high risk, where retinal detachment affects approximately one in 20 people.

Essentially, retinal detachment is a condition where, over a period of time, the retina comes away from the blood vessels that supply it.  

The quicker the condition is treated, the less risk there is of permanent loss of some or all vision.

Retinal detachment can give rise to a clinical negligence Claim if the detachment is not treated appropriately or with sufficient speed.

Clinical negligence Claims involving retinal detachment often revolve around early detection and referral to specialist ophthalmologists. Early signs of retinal detachment may be identified by opticians during routine eye tests, or by medical professionals following a trauma or after Lasik surgery.  Once a detachment is identified, a patient should be referred to an ophthalmologist for treatment.


Early diagnosis can have a significant impact on whether sight can be restored or preserved, but failure to diagnose, or to treat retinal detachment, and failure or delay in referring to an appropriate specialist, or failure to find retinal breaks, could constitute medical negligence.

The timing of the diagnosis may also determine the means by which the detachment is treated.  If the condition is diagnosed early then laser treatment or cryotherapy might be sufficient, otherwise surgery is necessary.

You may be able to bring a successful Claim for damages if you have suffered a retinal detachment and have not received appropriate and sufficiently prompt treatment. 

If, for example, a GP or an optician did not promptly refer you to see a specialist after you complained to them that you were experiencing one of the known signs of detachment then that GP or optician may be negligent.  Early signs of retinal detachment include seeing flashing lights or a shadow or dark curtain spreading across the field of vision, and showers of dark spots known as floaters.

If you have suffered retinal detachment and believe that you did not receive prompt appropriate treatment, it is important that you seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible.  The Courts may refuse to hear a Claim if certain actions are not taken within a set period of time.  You should therefore call 0191 5666500 or complete our short enquiry form without delay.

Back to Legal Resources