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The retina lines the back wall of the eye, and is responsible for absorbing the light that enters the eye and converting it into an electrical signal that is sent to the brain via the optic nerve, allowing you to see. Many conditions can lead to a retinal detachment, in which the retina separates from the back wall of the eye, like wallpaper peeling off a wall.
In general, retinal detachments can be categorized based on the cause of the detachment: rhegmatogenous, tractional, or exudative.
Exudative retinal detachments form when fluid leaks out of blood vessels and accumulates under the retina. This type of retinal detachment is much less common and can occur in eyes with abnormal inflammation or excessive leakage from abnormal blood vessels.
Your retina specialist will perform a detailed eye exam, including a careful examination of the peripheral retina. This may include pushing on the outside of the eye (scleral depression) to view the far most peripheral retina to identify any retinal breaks that will need to be treated. Photographing the retina is sometimes performed to document the extent of the detached retina, and an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan of the retina can be useful to determine whether fluid has detached the center of the retina (the macula). When a clear view of the retina cannot be obtained by direct visualization, an ultrasound of the eye can be helpful.
The goal of treatment is to reattach the retina to the back wall of the eye and seal the tears or holes that caused the retinal detachment. Several approaches can be employed to repair a retinal detachment:
The visual results depend on each patient’s pre-operative vision and other factors that differ between individual patients. In general, when the center of the retina has not detached before surgery, the post-operative vision tends to be similar to the pre-operative vision. If the central retina is detached prior to surgery, successful
re-attachment often leads to vision improvement, though some degree of permanent vision loss may occur.
Source: American Society of Retina Specialists