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Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment is a separation of the light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye, the retina, from its supporting layers. The most common type of retinal detachments are due to a tear or hole in the retina, which allow eye fluids to leak through this opening. This causes the retina to separate from the underlying tissues.

When the retina becomes detached, bleeding from surrounding blood vessels may cloud the inside of the eye, which is normally filled with vitreous fluid. Central vision becomes severely affected if the macula, the part of the retina responsible for fine vision, becomes detached. Retinal tears and detachments require treatment to reattach the retina.


  • Floaters: specks or threads in your vision
  • Flashes: lights, stars, or streaks in your vision
  • Sudden blurry vision
  • Appearance of an area of dark vision

If you noticed any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away to minimize potential vision loss.

Risk Factors

Getting regular eye exams can help catch problems before your vision is affected. You are at greater risk for developing a retinal detachment if:

  • You are very nearsighted
  • You have had a previous retinal detachment
  • Your family has a history of retinal problems
  • You have uncontrolled diabetes


Treatment of a retinal tear can help prevent your eye from acquiring a detachment in the future. Retinal tears can be treated with laser or freezing therapy, which both seal the retina to the back of the eye so that the tear does not worsen.

If your retina does become detached, your doctor may suggest multiple forms of treatment including: sealing the tears that cause the detachment with a laser or by freezing, removing the vitreous to keep it from pulling on the retina, or placing a flexible band around the eye to hold the retina in place.

Again, quick diagnosis and treatment are the key to preventing vision loss. If you notice the signs of a retinal tear or detachment, contact your doctor right away to discuss the treatment best for you.

Retinal Disorders

Learn about retinal disorders including the symptoms and treatment.

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