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Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment: Introduction

Retinal detachment is a rare but serious condition of the eye and a medical emergency that can lead to the loss of vision if left untreated.

The retina is the innermost layer of the eyeball and lines most of the posterior region of the eye. The retina contains the visual receptors, the rods and the cones, which absorb light and transform it into electrical impulses that are transmitted through the optic nerve to the brain. Light flows through the cornea and the pupil onto the lens before it is projected onto the retina.

In retinal detachment, the retina pulls away from the choroid, the layer of blood vessels that supply the eye with critical oxygen and nutrients. Retinal detachment most often occurs due to the development of a hole or tear in the retina. This allows fluid to flow between the retina and the choroid, resulting in retinal detachment. Retinal detachment will continue to increase in size if not treated.

Symptoms of early retinal detachment include visual disturbances, such as seeing flashes of light and floating spots and specks. Symptoms of advancing retinal detachment include the loss of a portion of peripheral vision (vision to the side). If left untreated retinal detachment can lead to progressive loss of vision in the affected eye. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of retinal detachment.

Retinal detachment generally affects middle-aged and elderly men and women in equal numbers. People who have an increased risk of retinal attachment include those who have had an eye injury or a surgical procedure to remove the lens of the eye to correct a cataract. People who are near-sided are also at increased risk for detached retina. In addition, people who have experienced a retinal detachment are at a high risk of developing a retinal detachment in the other eye.

Retinal detachment is diagnosed through a combination of taking a medical history, including symptoms, and eye examination. This is often done in an emergency room but a diagnosis may also be made by a specialist in eye care, called an ophthalmologist. The eye examination includes using eye drops to enlarge the pupil of the eye so the physician can look directly into the eye with an instrument called an ophthalmoscope. Visual acuity, or sharpness of vision, will also be tested by reading an eye chart located at a specific distance across the room. The peripheral vision will also be tested.

Because early symptoms of retinal detachment may be mild or resemble symptoms of other conditions, it is possible that a diagnosis can be delayed or missed. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of retinal detachments.

Treatment of retinal detachment includes surgery. There are a variety of procedures that can be used depending on the stage of the retinal detachment and other factors. Prognosis for the return of normal vision is good if retinal detachment is treated immediately in the earliest stages. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of retinal detachment. ...more »

Retinal detachment: Retinal detachment (or "detached retina") is a serious eye condition needing immediate diagnosis and often urgent eye surgery avoid vision loss in the affected eye. Visual floaters and flashes are common symptoms that need immediate diagnosis, but retinal detachment is not the most common cause of floaters/flashes with other less serious conditions such as vitreous detachment more common. All such symptoms of retinal detachment need urgent diagnosis because of the severe outcome if the problem is caused by retinal detachment. ...more »

Retinal detachment: Symptoms

The symptoms of retinal detachment of the eye are a result of the retina pulling away from the choroid, the layer of blood vessels that supply the eye with critical oxygen and nutrients. The retina contains the visual receptors, the rods and the cones, which absorb light and transform it into electrical impulses that are transmitted through the optic nerve to the brain.

As the ...more symptoms »

Retinal detachment: Treatments

Emergent treatment of a retinal detachment can result in a good prognosis and restore normal vision if detachment has not yet begun or if a minimal amount of retina is detached. If retinal detachment has progress beyond the early stage, there may be some permanent loss of vision even with treatment.

Retinal detachment can be treated with a variety of surgical ...more treatments »

Retinal detachment: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of retinal detachment can be missed or delayed because the earliest symptoms can be mild and overlooked. In addition, visual symptoms, such as seeing flashing lights are similar to symptoms of other conditions, such as migraine headache, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

Because retinal detachment is a medical emergency that can result in the loss of vision, it is ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Retinal detachment

Treatments for Retinal detachment

  • Emergency eye treatment - often eye surgery is required urgently
  • Laser surgery
  • Cryopexy (freeze treatment)
  • Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy
  • Solid carbon dioxine cryotherapy
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Retinal detachment:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment: Related Patient Stories

Retinal detachment: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Retinal detachment.

Types of Retinal detachment

  • Partial retinal detachment
  • Total retinal detachment
  • Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment - detachment due to a retinal tear
  • Tractional retinal detachment - detachment due to the retina being pulled away
  • Exudative retinal detachment - detachment due to fluid under the retina without any retinal tear
  • more types...»

Diagnostic Tests for Retinal detachment

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Retinal detachment: Complications

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Causes of Retinal detachment

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Disease Topics Related To Retinal detachment

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Retinal detachment: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Retinal detachment: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Evidence Based Medicine Research for Retinal detachment

Medical research articles related to Retinal detachment include:

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Retinal detachment: Animations

Research about Retinal detachment

Visit our research pages for current research about Retinal detachment treatments.

Clinical Trials for Retinal detachment

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Retinal detachment include:

Statistics for Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment: Broader Related Topics

Retinal detachment Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

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Article Excerpts about Retinal detachment

This happens when the inner and outer layers of the retina become separated. With surgery or laser treatment, doctors often can reattach the retina and bring back all or part of your eyesight. (Source: excerpt from Aging and Your Eyes -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

Definitions of Retinal detachment:

Separation of the inner layers of the retina (neural retina) from the pigment epithelium. Retinal detachment occurs more commonly in men than in women, in eyes with degenerative myopia, in aging and in aphakia. It may occur after an uncomplicated cataract extraction, but it is seen more often if vitreous humor has been lost during surgery. (Dorland, 27th ed; Newell, Ophthalmology: Principles and Concepts, 7th ed, p310-12). - (Source - Diseases Database)

Visual impairment resulting from the retina becoming separated from the choroid in the back of the eye; treated by photocoagulation - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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