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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: 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 ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Retinal detachment:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Retinal detachment. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Retinal detachment: Causes | Symptom Checker »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Retinal detachment

Home medical tests possibly related to Retinal detachment:

Retinal detachment: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Retinal detachment, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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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 ...Retinal detachment Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Retinal detachment may include:

Review further information on Retinal detachment Treatments.

Stories from Users for Retinal detachment

Real-life user stories relating to Retinal detachment:

Retinal detachment: Animations

Medications or substances causing Retinal detachment:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Retinal detachment as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Retinal detachment: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Retinal detachment may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Retinal detachment

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Retinal detachment:

Retinal detachment: Deaths

Read more about causes and Retinal detachment deaths.

Retinal detachment: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Retinal detachment: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Retinal detachment listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Retinal detachment as a symptom include:

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)

This happens when the inner and outer layers of the retina become separated. With... (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)

Detailed list of causes of Retinal detachment

The list below shows some of the causes of Retinal detachment mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Retinal detachment?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Retinal detachment. Of the 92 causes of Retinal detachment that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 1 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 4 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 88 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Retinal detachment:

The following list of conditions have 'Retinal detachment' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Retinal detachment or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Retinal detachment:

The following list of medical conditions have Retinal detachment or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.













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Causes of Retinal detachment Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Retinal detachment based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Classifications of Retinal detachment:

    Medical Conditions associated with Retinal detachment:

    Retina symptoms (307 causes), Eye symptoms (5412 causes), Face symptoms (8109 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes), Vision symptoms (2526 causes), Visual problems (2143 causes), Vision distortion (1970 causes)

    Symptoms related to Retinal detachment:

    Retina symptoms (307 causes), Eye symptoms (5412 causes), Blurred vision (982 causes), Floaters (18 causes), Flashes (29 causes), Eye injury, Uveitis (59 causes), Head injury (3 causes), Eye surgery, Degenerative myopia, Lattice degeneration (5 causes), Eye tumor, X-linked retinoschisis

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Retinal detachment

    Medical research papers related to Retinal detachment include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Retinal detachment:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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