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Detached Retina

(Retinal Detachment)

Definition

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. When the retina is pulled or falls away from its position, it is called a detached retina.

Causes

A detached retina may be caused by:
Detached Retina
Detached Retin
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Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of retinal detachment include:

Symptoms

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 right away:

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. An eye exam will be done with your eyes dilated. A special instrument called a slit-lamp will be used.
The eye can be examined with an ultrasound.

Treatment

Treatments may include:

Nonsurgical Procedures

  • Cryotherapy or cryoretinopexy—A freezing probe is used to seal the retina back into its normal position.
  • Diathermy—Heat is used to seal the retina back into its normal position.
  • Laser retinopexy—A laser is used to make tiny burns around the area of detachment. This seals down the surrounding retina, often preventing further detachment.
  • Pneumatic retinopexy—A special type of gas bubble is injected into the eye. The gas bubble pushes the retina back into place.
All of these procedures are often combined with other procedures or surgeries.

Surgical Procedures

  • Vitrectomy—the surgical removal of vitreous that is pulling on the retina and causing detachment
  • Scleral buckle—the surgical placement of a flexible band around the eye

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of retinal detachment:

RESOURCES

American Optometric Association http://www.aoa.org

Eye Smart—American Academy of Ophthalmology http://www.eyesmart.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Ophthalmological Society http://www.cos-sco.ca

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Facts about retinal detachment. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/retinaldetach/retinaldetach.asp. Updated October 2009. Accessed November 4, 2015.

Retinal detachment. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June10, 2015. Accessed November 4, 2015.

What is a torn or detached retina? American Academy of Ophthalmology's Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/detached-torn-retina/index.cfm. Accessed November 4, 2015.

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