Retinal Detachment

retinal detachment

Retinal detachment is detachment of the retina proper from the underlying pigmented choroid, and occurs in a number of settings:

* tractional – inflammatory or post traumatic fibrous bands in the vitreous. Also seen in sickle cell disease.
* exudative – fluid accumulating in the subretinal space secondary to hypertension, central retinal vein occlusion, vasculitis, papilloedema or tumour.
* postoperative – vitreous fluid accumulates in the subretinal space via a hole in the retina (rhegmatogenous RD)

Most common causes of retinal detachment are:

* myopia
* surgical aphakia (cataract removal) & pseudophakia (lens implant)
* trauma (e.g. bungee jumping!)

Treatment is varied and well beyond the scope of this article, but in general terms requires reattachment of the retina using intraoccular gas, lasers, cryotherapy or surgery.

Imaging is usually not required unless a specific underlying cause, such as a metastasis is considered. Ultrasound using high frequency, small foot print probe, performed though the closed eyelid can give very good detail. MRI can also be used, and has the advantage of imaging the remainder of the orbit as well as the ability to use contrast.

For a schematic diagram of the eye please visit here.


Credit: Dr Frank Gaillard