by Rick Alan
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.
A detached retina may be caused by:
Detached retina is more common in premature babies and older adults. Other factors that may increase your chance of a detached retina include:
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:
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.
Treatments may include:
These procedures are often combined with other procedures or surgeries.
To help reduce your chance of retinal detachment:
American Optometric Association
Eye Smart—American Academy of Ophthalmology
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Facts about retinal detachment. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/retinaldetach/retinaldetach. Updated October 2009. Accessed December 15, 2017.
Retinal detachment. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113694/Retinal-detachment . Updated June 10, 2015. Accessed December 15, 2017.
What is a torn or detached retina? American Academy of Ophthalmology's Eye Smart website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated March 1, 2016. Accessed December 15, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 12/20/2014