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Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a medical emergency. When the retina separates from the back of the eye, it's called retinal detachment. If you see new floaters or light flashes, or if it seems like a curtain has been pulled over your eye, go to your eye care professional right away. With surgery or laser treatment, doctors often can prevent loss of vision.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute on Aging)

About Retinal Detachment

The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. When the retina detaches, it is lifted or pulled from its normal position. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.

In some cases there may be small areas of the retina that are torn. These areas, called retinal tears or retinal breaks, can lead to retinal detachment.

There are three different types of retinal detachment:

Rhegmatogenous [reg-ma-TAH-jenous] - A tear or break in the retina allows fluid to get under the retina and separate it from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), the pigmented cell layer that nourishes the retina. These types of retinal detachments are the most common.

Tractional - In this type of detachment, scar tissue on the retina's surface contracts and causes the retina to separate from the RPE. This type of detachment is less common.

Exudative - Frequently caused by retinal diseases, including inflammatory disorders and injury/trauma to the eye. In this type, fluid leaks into the area underneath the retina, but there are no tears or breaks in the retina...Read more about Retinal Detachment NIH - National Eye Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Retinal detachment

INTRODUCTION: Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) is the most common form of retinal detachment, where a retinal 'break' allows the ingress of fluid from the vitreous cavity to the subretinal space, resulting in retinal separation. It occurs in about 1 in 10,000 people a year.

Interventions for asymptomatic retinal breaks and lattice degeneration for preventing retinal detachment

We reviewed the evidence about whether treatment of retinal breaks (holes or tears in the retina) and retinal lattice degeneration (thinning and atrophy of retinal tissue) can prevent retinal detachment, a serious vision‐threatening problem.

Tamponade in surgery for retinal detachment associated with proliferative vitreoretinopathy

We reviewed the effect of tamponade agents used in surgery involving pars plana vitrectomy in participants with retinal detachment (RD) associated with proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR).

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Summaries for consumers

Interventions for asymptomatic retinal breaks and lattice degeneration for preventing retinal detachment

We reviewed the evidence about whether treatment of retinal breaks (holes or tears in the retina) and retinal lattice degeneration (thinning and atrophy of retinal tissue) can prevent retinal detachment, a serious vision‐threatening problem.

Tamponade in surgery for retinal detachment associated with proliferative vitreoretinopathy

We reviewed the effect of tamponade agents used in surgery involving pars plana vitrectomy in participants with retinal detachment (RD) associated with proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR).

Surgical interventions for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment

In this review we aimed to determine whether pneumatic retinopexy or scleral buckle is a better surgical treatment for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD).

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More about Retinal Detachment

Photo of an adult

Also called: Detached retina, Sensory retinal detachment

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