A retinal detachment happens when the layer at the back of your eye (retina) pulls away from the underlying tissue. Often, it will cause blurry vision.
A detached retina is a medical emergency and can lead to blindness. An eye doctor can treat some types of retinal detachment if you go right away.
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For more information, or to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist, please contact the UPMC Vision Institute at 412-647-2200 or 1-800-446-3797.
Doctors define retinal detachment as a tearing or separating of the retina from the rest of the eye.
The retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. It captures the light coming into the eye and converts it to nerve signals. The brain reads these signals as vision.
When the retina gets torn or detached, it doesn't work correctly. Your vision gets blurry, and you could lose sight in the affected eye.
Retinal detachment is rare. Between 10 and 18 Americans per 100,00 have a retinal detachment. It happens most often in people over 50 years old.
Yes. A retinal detachment requires care right away.
If left untreated, you could lose your eyesight.
Doctors classify retinal detachment based on what caused them.
This is the most common type of retinal detachment. It happens when a tear in the retina allows fluid to pass through and collect under the retina. This detaches the retina from its blood supply.
Scar tissue that grows on the retina's surface may pull it off the back wall of the eye. This type of detachment often occurs from diabetes.
These happen when fluid leaks from blood vessels and collects under the retina. It's less common than the other types of retinal detachments. It often occurs if a person's eyes have inflammation or leakage from abnormal blood vessels.
Retinal detachment can happen for several reasons, such as:
A detached retina can happen to anyone.
But you're at higher risk if:
Without treatment, a detached retina leads to permanent blurred vision and blindness.
A detached retina can't heal on its own. You need treatment from an eye doctor as soon as possible.
Detached retina symptoms include:
You should also see an eye doctor if you have any trauma to the eye. Trauma might include getting hit in the eye while playing sports or an injury from a car accident.
Your doctor will ask about your personal and family health history and symptoms.
They will to look into your eye.
To diagnose retinal detachment, your doctor will use some form of retinal imaging and other methods, such as:
The eye specialists at the UPMC Vision Institute are experts at treating detached retinas.
They can perform surgery to reattach the retina to the back of the eye. They can also seal the tiny holes or tears that cause retinal detachment.
Treatments we offer include:
Surgery can help reattach your retina. Treatment is successful for nine out of 10 people.
Keep in mind that your vision won't instantly improve. It may take weeks or even months for your sight to get better.
The earlier you get treatment for the retinal detachment, the better it works. You may need a follow-up surgery if the retina detaches again.
If you have questions about retinal detachment or want to see a UPMC eye doctor, call 412-647-2200 or 1-800-446-3797.