A rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) occurs when the retina breaks, tears, or develops a hole. Fluid from the vitreous will then seep in through the tear or hole and cause the retina to detach from its pigment epithelial layer.
RRD’s are more common than serous pigment epithelial detachments. They most often occur in the elderly, nearsighted, those who have an advanced stage of retinopathy or other retinal disease, those who have had cataract surgery, or those who have experienced trauma. Sudden vision changes such as floaters, blurry or distorted central vision, flashes of light, or “shadows” that sweep inward from the periphery might indicate a rhegmatogenous retinal detachment.
Retinal detachments require surgery. Left untreated, the retina can detach completely and can cause blindness. However, there are several surgical options for retinal detachments, and all are highly successful. Laser photocoagulation is used to seal off tears or holes. Surgical procedures to re-attach the retina include scleral buckling, vitrectomy, and pneumatic retinopexy. It is important to know that even after the retina is successfully re-attached, vision may not be perfectly restored.