Eye Diseases and Conditions

Picture of Retinal Detachment

Picture of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates from the tissue it's normally attached to. The retina is responsible for transmitted visual input via the optic nerve to the brain. Retinal detachment can result in permanent vision loss, if not treated urgently. Retinal detachment can occur at any age, but it most commonly occurs in Caucasian males over the age of 40. Symptoms of retinal detachment include an increase in floaters or light flashes in the eye, partial loss of vision, or the visualization of a “curtain” being pulled over a section of your visual field.

There are three types of retinal detachment: rhegmatogenous, tractional, and exudative. Rhegmatogenous retina detachment occurs when fluid accumulates under the retina due to a tear or break in the tissue. Tractional retinal detachment occurs when scar tissue on the surface of the retina contracts and the retina separates from the retinal pigment epithelium. Exudative retinal detachment occurs when retinal diseases are present, causing fluid to leak into the area underneath the retina.

Potential treatments for retinal detachment include laser surgery or a freeze treatment (cryopexy), which is available to patients with tears. A surgical procedure called a vitrectomy may be necessary to treat some forms of retinal detachment.

Image Source: Image reprinted with permission from eMedicine.com, 2009

Text Reference: National Eye Institute: "Facts About Retinal Detachment"