A Retinal Detachment is when the retina is separated from its normal attachment, the retina is normally attached to the back inside wall of the eye. The retina is the light sensing tissue in the eye that acts like the film in a camera. The retina takes a picture of our world and sends the image out the optic nerve to our brain, allowing us to see.  The retina does not work well when detached. Retinal detachments are a serious problem and in almost all cases will lead to blindness without treatment. We most commonly repair retinal detachments with vitrectomy surgery. 

There are 3 types of Retinal Detachments:

1.  Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachments - are caused by a tear or break in the retina and are most commonly associated with Posterior Vitreous Detachments. We most commonly repair rhegmatogenous retinal detachments with vitrectomy surgery, laser and the use of an intraocular gas bubble. 

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

Retinal Detachment - The retina is detached in the upper right corner.

Normal Retina

2.  Tractional Retinal Detachments - are caused by tractional forces between the vitreous inside the eye pulling the retina off the back wall of the eye and are most commonly associated with the growth of new blood vessels in the eye from diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusions. We most commonly treat these with a combination of vitrectomy surgery and laser.

Tractional Retinal Detachment and Diabetic Retinopathy

Retinal Vein Occlusions

Traction Retinal Detachment prior to repair

Traction Retinal Detachment after repair

3.  Serous / Exudative Retinal Detachments - are caused by systemic illnesses such as eclampsia during pregnancy and are treated by treating the systemic illness.