Retinal detachment

Definition of Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment is a separation of the light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye (the retina) from its supporting layers.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The retina is a transparent tissue in the back of the eye. It helps you see the images that are focused on it by the cornea and the lens. Retinal detachments are often associated with a tear or hole in the retina through which eye fluids may leak. This causes separation of the retina from the underlying tissues.

Signs and tests

Tests will be done to check the retina and pupil response and your ability to see colors properly. These may include:

Treatment

Most patients with a retinal detachment will need surgery, either immediately or after a short period of time. (However, surgery may not be needed if you do not have symptoms or have had the detachment for a while.)

Expectations (prognosis)

What happens will depend on the location and extent of the detachment and early treatment. If the macula has not detached, the results of treatment can be excellent. Most retinal detachments can be repaired, but not all of them.

Review

Paul B. Griggs, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/6/2009

Eye
Slit-lamp exam

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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