Exploring the Different Types of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment happens when your retina pulls away from its normal position. If a small part of your retina detaches, you might not have symptoms. If a large part detaches, you’ll experience floaters, flashes of light or a dark shadow. Even though retinal detachment is not painful, it is a medical emergency. Early treatment can prevent vision loss.

There are three types of retinal detachment, which we’ll cover below. Although they are different, all types are serious and require immediate medical attention. 

Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment 

Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment is the most common type. It starts with a hole, tear or break in the retina that lets the vitreous gel (fluid from the middle part of your eye) leak under the retina. When the liquid settles, it causes the retina to pull away. This process happens gradually. 

Aging is the most common cause of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, though eye injuries, eye surgery and nearsightedness may also be risk factors. Fortunately, most people who experience retinal tears don’t end up with retinal detachment. But, if you notice concerning symptoms – floaters, spots, flashes of light – contact a retina specialist right away

Tractional Retinal Detachment 

Tractional retinal detachment occurs when scar tissue pulls the retina away from the back of the eye. It can lead to serious vision loss, which is why swift medical intervention is necessary. 

Typically, tractional retinal detachment is found in people with diabetes or diabetic retinopathy. These conditions damage the blood vessels and leave behind scar tissue that pull back the retina. 

The best way to avoid this type of detachment is by managing your diabetes. Stay physically active, eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. Also, take your medications as directed and schedule a yearly exam with your retina doctor. 

Exudative Retinal Detachment 

Exudative retinal detachment is rare. It happens when fluid collects under the retina but there is no tear present. If enough fluid gets behind the retina, it can push it away from the eye. This type of detachment can also affect both eyes instead of just one.

The most common causes of exudative retinal detachment are leaking blood vessels or swelling in the back of the eye. Usually, these issues are caused by inflammatory diseases, kidney diseases, Lyme disease, eye tumors and severe high blood pressure. 

See a Retina Specialist if You Suspect Retinal Detachment 

If you suspect retinal detachment, contact your eye doctor right away. Retinal detachment is nothing to mess with it as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Your eye doctor will do an exam and may suggest a few other tests. They can then recommend the best course of treatment depending on how much of your retina is detached. To speak with an experienced, qualified retinal specialist, contact Empire Retina Consultants today.