Retinal detachment is the separation of the retina, the innermost tunic layer of the back of the eye, from the underlying pigmented epithelium and choroid. The choroid is the darkly colored, vascular layer that furnishes nutrition to the retina.
The retina is responsible for sending visual images to the brain via the optic nerve. When the retina becomes separated from the support tissue underneath, it can no longer function and is termed "detached." If not treated promptly and properly, the affected animal will become blind, sometimes within a matter of days.
This can be caused by a variety of genetic and non-genetic factors, and in some cases is a result of a more serious underlying medical condition.
Symptoms of a detached retina are not painful, and they can appear either suddenly or gradually, depending upon whether the cause is injury- or disease-related. If the detached retina is in only one eye, the dog's behavior may be normal, yet the pupil of the affected eye will dilate and remain dilated as the dog's vision decreases. Retinal detachments caused by disease or infection usually occur rapidly, and the dog may lose its vision within one to three days. In some cases, there may be a visible hemorrhage or discoloration in the front part of the eye.