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Retinal Detachment

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Retinal detachment describes an emergency situation in which the retina pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nutrients. The retina is the light sensitive layer tissue to the back of the eye.

Retinal detachment is often accompanied by flashes and floaters in your vision. if not treated in a timely manner, it can result in permanent vision loss.

Risk Factors

A retinal detachment is more likely to occur in persons who:

• Are nearsighted

• Have had severe injury to the eye

• Have a family history of retinal detachment

• Have weak areas in the retina, as determined by an Ophthalmologist

• Have had previous eye surgery for cataract/glaucoma

• Have had previous retinal detachments

What causes a retinal tear or detachment?

Source: Eye Smart- American Academy of Opthalmology

Types of Retinal Detachments

There are three (3) types of Retinal Detachments:

1. Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment

A tear or break in the retina allows fluid to get under the retina and causes it to become detached

2. Tractional Retinal Detachment

Scar tissue on the surface of the retina contracts and causes the retina to detach

3. Exudative Retinal Detachment

Fluid leaks into an area under the retina causing it to lift and detach. This usually results from an underlying condition such as an inflammatory condition or trauma to the eye.

Signs & Symptoms

• Sudden decrease in vision

• Curtain and/or shadow moving over the field of vision

• Sudden appearance of flashes

• Sudden increase in the number and size of floaters


A retinal tear or a detached retina is repaired with a surgical procedure. Most retinal tears need to be treated by sealing the retina to the back wall of the eye with laser surgery or cryotherapy (a freezing treatment). Almost all patients with retinal detachments must have surgery known as a Vitrectomy, to place the retina back in its proper position.

Based on your specific condition, your ophthalmologist will discuss the type of procedure recommended and will tell you about the various risks and benefits of your treatment options.

Retinal Detachment Vision Simulator

Source: Eye Smart- American Academy of Opthalmology Retinal Detachment Simulator



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