The retina senses light and
sends images to the brain.

What is a Retinal Detachment?

The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye that senses light and sends images to the brain. If the retina pulls away from the back of the eye, it cannot function, and you experience a retinal detachment.

A retinal detachment is a medical emergency that, without treatment, almost always causes blindness. Call Retina Vitreous Associates immediately to consult with a retina surgeon.

The three types of Retinal Detachment

Rhegmatogenous [reg-ma-TAH-jenous]: The most common type of retinal detachment. A tear in the retina allows fluid to seep underneath it and separate it from the pigmented cell layer that nourishes the retina (the retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE).

Tractional: In this less common type of detachment, scar tissue on the retina's surface contracts and causes the retina to separate from the RPE.

Exudative: Usually caused by retinal diseases, including inflammatory disorders, or injury/trauma to the eye. As in a rhegmatogenous detachment, fluid leaks into the area underneath the retina. However, with this type of detachment, the leaking is not due to a tear or break in the retina.

Am I at risk for a Retinal Detachment?

A retinal detachment can occur at any age, but it is more common in people over age 40. It affects men more than women, and Whites more than African Americans.

A retinal detachment is also more likely to occur in people who have:

  • Extreme myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Had a retinal detachment in the other eye
  • A family history of retinal detachment
  • Had cataract surgery
  • Small retinal tears or breaks
  • Other eye diseases or disorders, such as retinoschisis, uveitis, degenerative myopia, or lattice degeneration
  • Suffered an eye injury