Retinal Detachment is an emergency situation in which the retina’s sensory layer (the visual receptors or rods and cones) and the base pigment layer separate. Early detection is vital because it can cause devastating visual damage if left untreated. Retinal detachment is considered an ocular emergency and in most cases requires immediate investigation and surgery. It occurs most frequently in the middle-aged and elderly.
There are three types of retinal detachment. The most common type occurs when there is a break in the sensory layer and vitreous seeps underneath, causing the layers of the retina to separate. Those who are very short sighted (>5 dioptres), have undergone eye surgery or suffered eye trauma are at greatest risk. Short sighted people are more susceptible because their eyes are longer than average, causing the retina to be thinner and more fragile. Alternatively, strands of vitreous or scar tissue can create traction on the retina, pulling it loose, or, less commonly, fluid collects underneath the layers of the retina, causing it to separate from the back wall of the eye. The last scenario usually occurs in conjunction with another disease affecting the eye as a sequelae of swelling or bleeding.
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