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Definition of Retinal detachment

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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, which often occurs when the vitreous gel pulls loose or separates from its attachment to the retina. Once the retina has torn, the vitreous liquid can 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. Vision loss occurs if the detached retina is not repaired.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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