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Slit lamp photograph showing retinal detachment.
|Classification and external resources|
|Patient UK||Retinal detachment|
Retinal detachment is a disorder of the eye in which the retina separates from the layer underneath. Symptoms include an increase in the number of floaters, flashes of light, and worsening of the outer part of the visual field. This may be described as a curtain over part of the field of vision. In about 7% of cases both eyes are affected. Without treatment permanent loss of vision may occur.
The mechanism most commonly involves a break in the retina that then allows the fluid in the eye to get behind the retina. A break in the retina can occur from a posterior vitreous detachment, injury to the eye, or inflammation of the eye. Other risk factors include being short sighted and previous cataract surgery. Retinal detachments also rarely occur due to a choroidal tumor. Diagnosis is by either looking at the back of the eye with an ophthalmoscope or by ultrasound.
In those with a retinal tear, efforts to prevent it becoming a detachment include cryotherapy using a cold probe or photocoagulation using a laser. Treatment of retinal detachment should be carried out in a timely manner. This may include scleral buckling where silicone is sutured to the outside of the eye, pneumatic retinopexy where gas is injected into the eye, or vitrectomy where the vitreous is partly removed and replaced with either gas or oil.
Retinal detachments affect between 0.6 and 1.8 people per 10,000 per year. About 0.3% of people are affected at some point in their life. It is most common in people who are in their 60s or 70s. Males are more often affected than females. The long term outcomes depend on the duration of the detachment and whether the macula was detached. If treated before the macula detaches outcomes are generally good.