A detached retina occurs when the retina is pulled or falls away from its normal position. The retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. It converts visual images into nerve impulses in the brain that allow us to see.
A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for retinal detachment include:
Increasing age—With age, changes occur in the eye that can lead to an increased risk of retinal detachment.
Previous retinal detachment in the same or other eye
Family members with retinal detachment
Holes or tears in the retina
Retinal detachment is painless. However, if it is not treated quickly, a detached retina can cause permanent, partial, or total vision loss. If you have any of these symptoms, contact an eye doctor immediately:
Sudden appearance or increase in the number of “floaters,” which are shapes that float in the eye and are seen in the field of vision
Brief flashes of light in the eye
Loss of the eye’s central or peripheral field of vision
A curtain appears to fall over part of the visual field
Sudden changes or blurring of vision
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a thorough eye exam. Tests may include:
Eye exam—The pupil is dilated with eye drops, and the inside of the eye is examined with a lighted instrument called an ophthalmoscope.
Ultrasound—The doctor uses sound waves to examine the eye.
Treatments may include:
Cryotherapy (or cryoretinopexy)—A freezing probe is used to seal the retina back into its normal position.
Diathermy—Heat is used to seal the retina back into its normal position.
Laser retinopexy—A laser is used to make tiny burns around the area of detachment. This seals down the surrounding retina often preventing further detachment.
Pneumatic retinopexy—A special type of gas bubble is injected into the eye. The gas bubble pushes the retina back into place.
All of these procedures are often combined with other procedures or surgeries.
Vitrectomy—the surgical removal of vitreous fluid that is pulling on the retina and causing detachment
Scleral buckle—the surgical placement of a flexible band around the eye
If you are diagnosed with a detached retina, follow your doctor's
To help prevent retinal detachment, do the following:
Always wear protective eyewear or goggles when participating in:
Activities that involve flying objects
Any other potentially dangerous activity where the eye can get injured
Have regular eye exams at least once a year if you are at risk. Depending on your age and risk factors, you may need to see the eye doctor more often.
Contact an eye doctor immediately if you have:
An eye injury
Any symptoms of retinal detachment, such as flashing lights, floating objects, loss of part of your peripheral vision, or any other change in vision
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a