Retinal detachment

A separation of the retina from its connection at the back of the eye. The separation usually results from a tear (that is, a rent or rip, not a tear drop) in the retina. The tear often occurs when the vitreous gel pulls loose or separates from its attachment to the retina, usually in the outside edges of the eye. The vitreous is a clear gel that fills most of the inside of the eye between the retina and the lens. If the retina is weak when the vitreous gel pulls loose, the retina will tear. This rip is sometimes accompanied by bleeding, or hemorrhage, if a blood vessel is also torn. Once the retina has torn, liquid from the vitreous gel can then pass through the tear and accumulate behind the retina. The build-up of fluid behind the retina is what separates (detaches) the retina from the back of the eye. As more of the liquid vitreous collects behind the retina, the extent of the retinal detachment can progress and involve the entire retina, leading to a total retinal detachment. A retinal detachment almost always affects only one eye. The second eye, however, must be checked thoroughly for any signs of the problem.

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retinal detachment n a condition of the eye in which the retina has separated from the choroid called also detached retina, detachment of the retina

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separation of the inner nervous layer of the retina from the outer pigmented layer (retinal pigment epithelium) to which it is attached. It commonly occurs when one or more holes in the retina allow fluid from the vitreous cavity of the eyeball to accumulate under the retina. Vision is lost in the affected part of the retina. The condition can be treated surgically by creating patches of scar tissue between the retina and the choroid by application of extreme cold (see cryosurgery) or heat (see photocoagulation); this, combined with plombage, allows reattachment of the retina.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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