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Retinal Detachment Causes and Treatment: How Does it Affect Vision?

Medically reviewed by Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO · Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Shienna Santelices · Updated May 21, 2021

Retinal Detachment Causes and Treatment: How Does it Affect Vision?

The retina is a thin layer of tissue connected to the layers of blood vessels that gives oxygen and nourishment. It functions as a sender of visual signals to the brain. However, some people experience a detachment of the retina from its original position. This is known as retinal detachment. Learn more about retinal detachment causes and treatment here. 

People with illnesses, such as diabetes and myopia, and patients who underwent trauma are at most risk of retinal detachment. Treatments are available depending on the type of detachment of the retina. While this usually happens only in one eye, if retinal detachment causes and treatment are not paid attention to, it will increase the risk of getting blind.

Types and Causes

Retinal detachment causes and treatment can vary according to type and corresponding causes. The three types of retinal detachment are the following:


The most common type is caused by a retinal hole or tear, which might be the way for the vitreous gel or the fluid from the middle of the eye to through the retina. When the vitreous gel settles, the retina will slowly pull away from the layer where it sticks. This type is commonly associated with trauma in the eye due to surgery or accidents.


The primary cause of tractional retinal detachment is membrane proliferation. People with diabetes are at risk of damages to blood vessels in the eye. If blood vessels get damaged, the scarring and membrane will grow bigger until it damages the retina. Aside from grown membrane tissues, other causes include eye infection and swollen eyes.


This is also caused by fluid that settles in the retina, causing it to detach from the layer of blood vessels. However, in this case, the retina does not have any hole or tear for fluid to flow. This type is commonly associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and tumor. 

retinal detachment causes and treatment


Detached retina symptoms do not cause any pain, but it affects one’s vision. If only a small part of the retina is damaged, these symptoms may not manifest. However, these symptoms may be experienced if a large part of the retina is detached: 

  • Visibility and increase of floaters, which means that the retina has little debris. The floaters are in the shape of visible strings and transparent bubbles, everywhere the vision is on focus.
  • The peripheral vision, the vision sideways, are gradually getting darker and narrower. 
  • The whole visual field is getting covered by a dark surface or transparent curtain.
  • Most likely to experience photopsia, the sudden appearance of light in the center of the vision or peripheral vision. It may also occur when the eye moves and look in different directions.
  • Experience of heavy feeling in the eye.
  • The appearance of curves when looking at straight lines.


There are no particular ways to prevent retinal detachment as it is possible to happen to anyone, anytime. However, here are some steps to follow to avoid the risk of this emergency:

  • If any of the symptoms manifests, consult a doctor right away.
  • Get an annual eye check-up from the doctors. The comprehensive dilated eye exam will help to determine if the retina has a small tear or hole.
  • Wear eye protection when playing sports, swimming, using harmful tools, and other activities to avoid injuries and accidents that may harm the eyes. 
  • People with diabetes are at risk, but keep the disease under control to prevent retinal complications. Make sure that the blood sugar is stable, and attend the regular check-up from doctors.


Different procedures may apply to the treatment of retinal detachment. The retinal detachment causes and treatments comes in pairs. The treatment usually depends on the causes. If the retina is completely detached, a surgical procedure is the only option.


It is a laser procedure that burns and seals the hole or tears in the retina. The laser beam is usually directed through a contact lens. Using a laser may cause a scar while burning the tear, but it can be fused again by the laser.


It involves an application of a freezing probe in the outer part of the eye. However, local anesthesia is available to numb the eyes from the cold. The cryotherapy will produce a scar in the retina that will stick the retina back to its original position. 

Pneumatic Retinopexy

In this procedure, injecting air or gas in the center part of the eye will stop the fluid from flowing through the retina. The injected air bubble will push the retina back into the eyewalls where it is connected.

Scleral buckling

It is a surgery that ties up the silicone tire and segments over the affected area. In this procedure, the material will force the eyewalls to tuck into the retina. In some cases, it may be done with vitrectomy, while cryopexy and retinopexy is part of the procedure.


This procedure is appropriate with larger retinal tears. It removes the scar tissues and vitreous gel using small tools then reattaching the retina in its proper place. Cryopexy and retinopexy are also part of the procedure.

Final Reminders

Retinal detachment is considered an emergency. It can vary in causes and treatments. It may occur to everyone, but there are no particular ways to prevent it. However, some steps should be done to avoid eye injury, especially for those at risk. Various retinal detachment causes and treatments can be considered to prevent vision loss or any complications. Consult your doctor. 

Learn more about Eye Diseases here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO

Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Shienna Santelices · Updated May 21, 2021

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