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Retinal Detachment: Types and Causes

Any type of retinal detachment is serious and a medical emergency. It does not matter what type it is, but you should be aware of the causes and symptoms so you can seek immediate care.

What Is a Retinal Detachment?

Your retina is a thin layer of light sensitive nerve tissue located in the back of your eye, and it becomes detached if it pulls away from its normal position. Any type of retinal detachment is a serious medical emergency.

Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment

The most common type of retinal detachment is known as rhegmatogenous.

If your retina has a tiny break or tear, the vitreous, or gel-like substance that fills your eye, can slip behind the retina. If that happens, it can push your retina away from the back of your eye causing detachment.

The usual cause of this type of detachment is your age. As we get older, the vitreous in our eyes changes in texture and can shrink. If this occurs, it can pull on your retina resulting in a tear.

Other causes can be eye injuries, an eye surgery, or being nearsighted.

Tractional Retinal Detachment

The second most common type of retinal detachment is known as tractional.

Diabetic retinopathy is the main cause of this type of detachment. Those who have diabetes are at risk for developing this condition. Diabetic retinopathy can damage blood vessels in your eyes causing scars on your retina which may pull it away from its position.

Other causes include eye diseases, eye infections, and swelling in the eye.

Exudative Retinal Detachment

The third type is known as exudative.

Sometimes fluid can build up behind your retina even though there are no tears or breaks. Enough fluid will move your retina and cause detachment.

Most common causes are leaking blood vessels and swelling. These are due to the following:

How to Recognize the Symptoms

Retinal detachment comes with many obvious symptoms. You will have a sudden increase in floaters in your vision, you may see light flashes, a shadow will come from the periphery of your vision, and a gray curtain may shield some of your vision. The most important symptom is your vision becoming severely worse.

Don’t wait to get care if you have any combination of these symptoms.

If you have diabetes, it is critical to keep your blood sugar levels within a normal range, and see an ophthalmologist at least once a year.

Contact Retina Specialists of Tampa at (813) 973-3333 if you have any signs of a retinal detachment in Tampa, Wesley Chapel, or Lakeland.

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