More Patient Information
A retinal detachment is a separation of the retina from the underlying tissue of the eye. Most retinal detachments result from a retinal break, hole, or tear, which can occur when the vitreous gel pulls loose or separates from the retina. As the vitreous pulls loose, it may exert traction on the retina, causing it to tear. While many people develop separation of the vitreous from the retina as they age, only a small percentage of them result in a retinal tear. If the retina is torn, liquid from the vitreous can pass through the tear and accumulate behind the retina, which may lead to a detachment. Left unattended, this can lead to a total retinal detachment. The most common initial symptoms of a retinal detachment are seeing flashing lights and floaters. If you experience a sudden onset of these symptoms, you should call your ophthalmologist immediately for a retinal exam. Treatment of retinal detachments include the use of lasers (thermal), freezing (cryopexy), pneumatic retinopexy (in which a small gas bubble is injected into the eye to apply pressure on the retina to close the tear), scleral buckles, and/or a vitrectomy.