Retinal detachment describes an emergency situation in which a thin layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from its normal position. Retinal detachment separates the retinal cells from the layer of blood vessels that provides oxygen and nourishment. The longer retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater your risk of permanent vision loss in the affected eye.

Retinal detachment itself is painless. But warning signs almost always appear before it occurs or has advanced, such as:

  • The sudden appearance of many floaters — tiny specks that seem to drift through your field of vision
  • Flashes of light in one or both eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually reduced side (peripheral) vision
  • A curtain-like shadow over your visual field

Ultrasound is the main diagnostic examination , necessary in this situation .


  • Injecting air or gas into your eye. In this procedure, called pneumatic retinopexy (RET-ih-no-pek-see), a bubble of air or gas into the center part of the eye (the vitreous cavity). Indenting the surface of your eye. This procedure, called scleral buckling, involves the suturing a piece of silicone material to the white of your eye (sclera) over the affected area.
  • Draining and replacing the fluid in the eye. In this procedure, called vitrectomy, the vitreous is removed along with any tissue that is tugging on the retina. Air, gas or silicone oil is then injected into the vitreous space to help flatten the retina.

Eventually the air, gas or liquid will be absorbed, and the vitreous space will refill with body fluid. If silicone oil was used, it may be surgically removed months later.

Vitrectomy may be combined with a scleral buckling procedure.

These procedures are often done on an outpatient basis.After surgery your vision may take several months to improve. You may need a second surgery for successful treatment. Some people never recover all of their lost vision.

Dr. Blerina Kambo