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.
Many factors can cause retinal detachment. These include:
A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for retinal detachment include:
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:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a thorough eye exam. Tests may include:
Treatments may include:
All of these procedures are often combined with other procedures or surgeries.
If you are diagnosed with a detached retina, follow your doctor's
To help prevent retinal detachment, do the following:
American Academy of Ophthalmology
National Eye Institute
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Canadian Health Network
American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at:
The Merck Manual of Medical Information. Simon and Schuster, Inc.; 2000.
National Eye Institute website. Available at:
Last reviewed [Under Medical Review] by Eric L. Berman, MD
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 medical condition.
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