standard-title Retinal Detachment

Retinal Detachment

Retinal Detachment

The retina is multi-layered. Retinal detachment occurs when the neuroretina separates from the retinal pigment epithelium. Retinal detachment causes the retinal photoreceptor cells to be deprived of nutrient supply, damaging their visual function. Without proper treatment, the condition will cause permanent impairment to the vision and may progress to blindness.



Age-related degeneration:

As we age, the retina degenerates or becomes thinner; at the same time, the vitreous degenerates or becomes liquefactive. If the vitreous contracts and exerts pulling force on degenerative portion of the retina, cracks will form on the retina, through which the liquefied vitreous will pass and separate the retina from the back of the eye, causing it to detach.

High myopia:
High myopia causes the eye ball to be longer and the retina to be thinner, so persons with high myopia are at high risk of retinal detachment.
Having a family history of retinal detachment; or retinal detachment in one of the eyes, which increases the risk in the other eye.
Eye injury, diabetes, tumour or retinal inflammation.


Symptoms of retinal detachment:

1. Sudden decrease in vision.
2. The patient sees flashing light or flying dots (floaters) and black shadows moving around the visual field. If floater happen gradually and the extent is not significant, the condition may be caused by vitreous degeneration, which does not affect vision seriously.
3. Appearance of a curtain covering part of the visual field.
If any of the above symptoms happens, you should visit the ophthalmologist for eye examination immediately. The doctor will perform dilated fundus examination to examine the location and extent of the retinal detachment, and the location of the crack, if the macula has already fallen off or if retinal degeneration has occurred in the other eye. Retinal detachment patients should rest in bed as physical activity will exacerbate retinal detachment.



The treatment for retinal detachment is surgery performed under local or general anesthesia.

The surgery aims to seal all retinal tears and release the accumulated fluid to re-attach the retina. It involves scleral buckle, vitrectomy, cryotherapy, intraocular laser therapy and injection of gas or silicon oil.

Although the surgery success rate can be 80%, patients with complicated retinal detachment may require several surgeries to see result.


Pre/Post Surgery Instructions

Patients should rest in bed to prevent enlargement of the detached area. After surgery, patients should continue to rest in bed. Patients who have received injection of gas or silicon oil should maintain a head posture as instructed by the doctor. After surgery, patients should avoid waist bending, bowing, picking up heavy objects and knocking the head against any object to prevent re-detachment of the retina.



Persons at high risk should undergo regular ophthalmological examination. If retinal degeneration or tears are detected, the patient should receive preventive laser therapy or surgery. If retinal tears have occurred, the patient should undergo surgery as soon as possible to consolidate areas at high risk of retinal degeneration with laser.



Retinal detachment is a very serious eye disease. If left untreated, the patient is at high risk of becoming blind. Retinal detachment can happen suddenly. If warning signs appear, you should have ophthalmological examination at once for early detection of retinal tears and treatment.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for reference only. They are not, and should not be used as, diagnoses, medical treatments or recommendations for any drug. For enquiries, please contact Champion Eye Centre.