Retinal Detachment

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The retina is a photosensitive tissue within the eye that allows us to see. The retina lines the back of the eye similarly to how camera film lines the back of a camera.

Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment – This is the most common type of retinal detachment, which occurs when retinal tears are formed and vitreous fluid leaks under the retina causing a separation of the retina from the back wall of the eye. Without treatment this will lead to blindness.

Risk factors for retinal detachment:

  • Retinal tear
  • Posterior vitreous detachment
  • Myopia (near sightedness)
  • Injuries to the eye

Retinal detachment is an ocular emergency that requires immediate treatment. Symptoms would include:

vitreous fluid entering retinal tear, causing retinal detachment
Vitreous fluid entering retinal tear, causing retinal detachment
  • Sudden onset of floaters
  • Flashing lights
  • A shadow or curtain coming from the side of the visual field toward the center
  • Loss of peripheral vision

Diagnostic Testing

The doctor performs a full dilated ophthalmic and retinal examination to determine the type and extent of retinal detachment.


Retinal detachment with retinal tears
Retinal detachment with retinal tears
  • Laser photocoagulation – Small and early retinal detachments can often be treated with in-office laser photocoagulation alone.
  • More extensive retinal detachments can be treated with various methods such as:
  • In office pneumatic retinopexy
  • Pars plana vitrectomy with gas injection
  • Pars plana vitrectomy with scleral buckle and gas injection
  • Scleral buckle alone