Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is the separation of the inner layer of the retina from the back of the eye.
The retinal cells detect light entering the eye and send signals to the brain about what is being seen. When the retina detaches, it can no longer send signals accurately. This condition can cause blurred vision and even blindness. If you have a retinal detachment, you need medical attention right away.

Injury, other eye disease and complications of diabetes can all cause retinal detachment. A detachment of the clear gel (vitreous) that fills the eye, called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), can cause retinal detachment severe enough to tear the retina.

Most cases of retinal detachment cannot be prevented, but regular eye examinations, using protective eyewear and, if needed, treating diabetes can all help protect your vision.


The first symptoms of retinal detachment are often those of PVD, before retinal detachment actually occurs. PVD can create floaters or flashes (brief sparkles or streaks of light, mostly seen with the eyes closed).

The first sign of actual retinal detachment may be a shadow across part of your vision that won’t go away or a sudden loss of peripheral vision. These are not certain signs of retinal detachment, but should be checked by an eye care professional.


Retinal detachment requires immediate treatment. Vision loss can worsen from minor to severe blindness in hours or days. Surgery is the only way to reattach the retina. In most cases, good vision can be returned.