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Retinal Detachment


What is retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment is when your retina separates from the back of your eye. The retina is the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of your eye. It captures light and sends messages to the brain. Retinal detachment usually happens in 1 eye but may happen in both.

Eye Anatomy

What causes retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment is caused by fluid that builds up between your retina and your eye. This causes your retina to separate from the back of your eye. Your risk for retinal detachment may increase if you have any of the following:

  • A personal or family history of retinal detachment
  • Trouble seeing far way (nearsightedness)
  • Eye surgery, such as cataract removal
  • An eye injury such as a tear or hole in the retina
  • An eye infection
  • An eye disease, such as glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy or eye cancer

What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?

Symptoms usually happen suddenly. You may have any of the following:

  • Seeing floaters, such as spots, cobwebs, strings, or specks
  • Seeing flashes of light
  • A dark or blind spot in the center of your vision

How is retinal detachment diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will examine your eye. The provider may test your vision by asking you to read letters off a chart. You may need an ultrasound if your healthcare provider cannot see inside your eye well. Retinal detachment is often treated immediately with surgery to reattach your retina. There are many types of surgery for retinal detachment. Talk to your healthcare provider about which eye surgery is right for you.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a sudden change in your vision or loss of vision.
  • You have eye pain.
  • You see more floaters or flashes of light than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Retinal Detachment

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.