Retinal detachment is a medical emergency. The retina is a layer of tissue at the back of the eye, made up of millions of light-sensitive cells. When the lens at the front of the eye focuses light on the retina, those cells send a visual image to the brain via the optic nerve. This crucial retinal tissue rests on top of another layer of cells that relies on blood vessels to supply oxygen and nourishment to the retina. If the retina is pulled away from that underlying layer, the retinal cells can stop working, leading to blindness. A retinal detachment may be caused by a shrinking vitreous – the fluid inside the eyeball – that tugs on the retinal tissue, and it may follow a tear in the retina that lets the vitreous push underneath the retina.
Clear early warning signs of a retinal detachment include an increase in "floaters," which are specks or threads that appear to float in the field of vision; an increased number of light flashes in the eye; or a gray veil or curtain that seems to move across the field of vision. A retinal detachment does not hurt. Immediate diagnosis and repair of a retinal detachment by an eye specialist can save the vision. Retinal detachment is more common beyond age 40.
Callahan is the only full-service facility in Alabama specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of the eye and one of only a few worldwide that is entirely devoted to advancements in ophthalmology. That reputation is supported by 16 operating rooms dedicated to eye surgery and a 24/7 eye emergency room that is the region’s only Level I Ocular Trauma Center. More than 11,000 surgeries are performed at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital each year, and we conduct more reconstructive eye procedures than any other facility in the world.
Our facility is home to more than two dozen ophthalmologists, many of whom are named among the top doctors in their fields nationally. Callahan is widely recognized for excellence in patient care, having consistently earned prestigious awards from health care consulting group Press Ganey, and in 2017 Callahan was named as one of the “100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare” by Becker’s Hospital Review.
Callahan also is known for pioneering developments in surgical instruments, devices, and procedures used by ophthalmologists across the globe. As part of the UAB Medicine academic medical center, Callahan is actively involved in ongoing research and clinical trials. Many of our ophthalmologists have received funding from prestigious research organizations and institutions and collaborate in clinical care to bring the latest in scientific discovery to our patients.
The Red Eye: What Primary Care Physicians Need to Know
Improving the detection of glaucoma
Glaucoma is a silent disease. It does not hurt, symptoms are slow to develop, and most people do not notice any loss of vision until it is too late. A project by ophthalmologists at UAB are examining whether a partnership with community-based optometrists will improve detection and treatment of glaucoma, especially for high-risk populations.
UAB Callahan Eye Hospital helped save a young baseball player’s career and, most importantly, his sight.
Baseball Eye Injury
College baseball player Meade Kendrick was nearly blinded by a batted ball during a practice drill. The ball hit directly on Kendrick’s left eye resulting in a severe closed-globe injury to the eye. See how Meade's vision was restored by UAB Ophthalmologist Doug Witherspoon, M.D. at the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for Retina Detachment. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials