Retinal DetachmentA retinal detachment is painless. People usually see an increase in small, floating objects (floaters) or many flashes of bright light that last less than a second. Peripheral vision is typically lost first, and vision loss spreads as the detachment progresses. The loss of vision resembles a curtain or veil falling across the line of sight. If the macula becomes detached, vision rapidly deteriorates, and everything becomes blurred. After applying eyedrops to dilate the pupil, doctors examine the retina using an ophthalmoscope and can usually see a detachment. If the detachment is not visible, an ultrasound scan of the eye can reveal it.
Most retinal detachments can be repaired. The surgeon seals the tears with laser surgery or freezing therapy (cryopexy). Then the surgeon draws the retina and the eye wall together either by placing a band around the eye (a scleral buckle) or by removing the vitreous jelly behind the lens and in front of the retina with surgery called a vitrectomy. A gas bubble is often used to hold the retina is place.