The Different Types of Retinal Detachment and Their Treatment Options

The lifetime risk of developing a retinal detachment by the time you reach 85 years of age falls around 3%, which means that you or someone you know could develop this retinal condition. Retinal detachments can occur due to normal aging, but there are also some risk factors that increase your chances of developing this eye condition. If you experience a retinal detachment, it helps to understand which type you have along with the most common treatments your Brooklyn retina doctor may recommend.

What Are the Types of Retinal Detachment?

A retinal detachment occurs when the light-sensitive tissue in the back of your eye gets pulled out of its normal position. There are three different types of retinal detachment, and each one is considered a medical emergency. The types are differentiated by their causes, which can impact your treatment options.


This is the most common type of detachment, and it is associated with aging. As your retinal tissue ages, it can develop tears. Once a small tear occurs, the vitreous fluid in your eye can flow behind the retina and push it out of place.


Tractional retinal detachments are often caused by scar tissue that develops from other underlying health conditions. For instance, diabetic retinopathy can cause abnormal blood vessels and leakage that create scar tissue in your eye. Once scar tissue develops, it can pull on your retina until it detaches.


Leaking blood vessels or injuries and other inflammatory conditions can cause fluid to build up behind the retina that isn’t associated with a tear. The excess fluid and swelling can put pressure on the retina that causes it to get pushed out of place.

What Types of Treatments Are Available?

Surgery is the main treatment for retinal detachment. The top retina specialists in NY offer three different types of surgeries that can help you to regain and preserve your vision.

  • Pneumatic Retinopexy
    With this type of surgery, your eye doctor will inject a tiny air bubble into your eye that moves the retina into place. They can then use a laser or cryotherapy treatment to repair the detachment.
  • Scleral Buckle Surgery
    With a scleral buckle surgery, your retinal specialist places a flexible band on the white part of your eye, or the sclera. This generates gentle pressure that pushes your retina back into its place where it can begin to reattach. You may also need laser surgery to repair tears that contributed to the detachment.
  • Vitrectomy
    With a vitrectomy, your eye doctor also uses laser surgery and an air bubble to correct the detachment, but this procedure can take longer than a pneumatic retinopexy. This is because the vitreous fluid in your eye is removed prior to the completion of the retinal reattachment.

Prompt treatment of a retinal detachment typically leads to a good prognosis, with 9 out of 10 people enjoying a successful reattachment. With each type of surgery, you can also enjoy a swift recovery. Just remember that retinal detachments are considered eye health emergencies. Contacting an eye doctor as soon as you see flashing lights in one or both eyes, floaters or what feels like a dark curtain over your field of vision allows you to receive a prompt diagnosis and treatment that reverses the condition.