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Diseases & Conditions > Retinal Detachment

A Retinal Detachment is a serious condition that must be treated promptly by a retinal specialist. A retinal detachment occurs when the retina becomes separated from the inside wall of the eye. There are many different causes of retinal detachments.

A retinal detachment can occur as a result of a retinal tear. When the retina becomes torn, vitreous from inside the eye may leak through the tear and get under the retina. This liquid lifts the retina from the back wall of the eye causing the retina to separate, or detach. Additional causes of retinal detachments include high degrees of nearsightedness, heredity, thinning of the peripheral retinal and trauma to the eye.

Symptoms of retinal detachment vary, but vision loss is the most significant. Because most retinal detachments occur in the peripheral retina, the patient may notice a loss of side vision. This loss of side vision can appear as a curtain coming in from either side, up from the bottom, or down from above. Additional symptoms of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of flashes of light or the appearance of a large amount of new floaters. In some instances, retinal detachments are found in routine exams before visual problems occur.

Treatment for retinal detachments must be prompt and can vary according to the severity of the detachment. Surgery of some type is indicated in most cases of retinal detachment. There are several surgical options for retinal detachment surgery including scleral buckling surgery, pneumatic retinopexy, vitrectomy, and silicone oil placement. Recover of vision loss is dependent on the severity of the detachment.



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