Definition of Retinal Detachment
Retinal Detachment is a separation of the retina (the inner nervous tunic of the eye) from the choroid (the middle, vascular tunic of the eye) in the back of the eye, usually resulting from a hole in the retina that allows the vitreous humor (fluid) to leak between the choroid and the retina.
Description of Retinal Detachment
The retina is a thin, transparent tissue of light-sensitive nerve fibers and cells. It covers the inside wall of the eye the same as wallpaper covers the walls of a room.
Most retinal detachments are caused by the presence of one or more small tears or holes in the retina. Normal aging can sometimes cause the retina to thin and deteriorate, but more often shrinkage of the vitreous body, the clear gel-like substance which fills the center of the eye, is responsible for deterioration and retinal tears. The vitreous is firmly attached to the retina in several places around the back wall of the eye. As the vitreous shrinks, it may pull a piece of the retina away with it, leaving a tear or hole in the retina.
Though some shrinkage of the vitreous body occurs naturally with aging and usually causes no damage to the retina, abnormal growth of the eye (sometimes a result of nearsightedness), inflammation or injury, may also cause the vitreous to shrink. In most cases, a significant change in the structure of the vitreous body occurs before the development of a retinal detachment.
Once a retinal tear is present, watery fluid from the vitreous space may pass through the hole and flow between the retina and the back wall of the eye. This separates the retina from the back of the eye and causes it to “detach.” The part of the retina that is detached will not work properly and there will be a blindspot in vision.