Retinal Detachment

What is a retinal detachment?

The retina is the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that is responsible for vision.  In most cases of retinal detachment, a retinal tear or hole has formed and fluid leaks behind the retina pulling it away from the choroid.  The area that has detached loses function. Early detection can prevent vision loss.

What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?

You will notice a sudden onset of floaters and flashes. Where the retina has detached, vision is lost and patients will notice a shadow or curtain effect.

How is retinal detachment treated?

One way of repairing a detached retina is by a scleral buckle. A scleral buckle is a silicone band sutured around the eye. The principle of scleral buckling is to close holes in the retina, and to relieve any traction on the retina from the vitreous. A bubble of air or gas is often placed inside the eye at the same time to help keep the retina in place, and to replace the volume of the fluid which is drained from under the retina during the operation. This results in reattachment of the retina in about 90% of cases. In the 10% of cases where the retina does not reattach, or if the retina re-detaches later the usual cause is scarring and contraction of the vitreous (called proliferative vitreoretinopathy). If this occurs further surgery will be required, and will usually involve vitrectomy. Download the Vitreoretinal Surgical Conditions PDF for more information on

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Vitreoretinal Surgical Conditions (PDF)