Closeup of the eye

The retina normally lines the back wall of the eye and functions like the film in a camera.

The retina converts the light that enters the eye into an electrical signal that is sent to the brain and allows you to see.

A retinal detachment is when the retina is no longer attached to the back wall of the eye, causing vision loss.

Most commonly, it can start with a hole or tear in the peripheral retina. This allows the fluid in the eye to go under the retina and cause it to detach.

If not treated quickly, this can lead to worsening of vision and possibly permanent vision loss.

University of Maryland Eye Associates are experts at treating retinal detachments. Make an appointment with one of our retina specialists at one of our several locations through Maryland by calling 667-214-1111.

Risk Factors for Retinal Detachments

Those who are at higher risk include those who have or have had:

  • Extreme nearsightedness
  • Previous eye surgery, such as cataract surgery
  • Eye injuries
  • Advanced age
  • Family history of retinal tears or retinal detachment

Retinal Detachment Symptoms

If you notice the signs of a detached retina, it is important to contact us as soon as possible.

Symptoms include:

  • Eye floaters - dark spots in your vision or strings that look like cobwebs
  • “Curtain” covering peripheral vision - when your peripheral vision is limited
  • Light flashes

Retinal Detachment Surgery

Surgery is often required to repair retinal detachments. The goal is to reattach the retina and seal the tears or breaks in the retina that caused the retinal detachment. A variety of treatment options exist, and we will guide you in determining which is most suitable:

  • Scleral Buckle – A silicone (plastic) band is placed around the eye to push the wall of the eye closer to the retinal tear to close the tear. The tear is treated with freezing treatment to create a controlled scar around the tear and permanently seal it.
  • Pneumatic retinopexy – A gas bubble is injected into the eye to help seal the retinal tear. This procedure can be done in the office and afterward, you may need to maintain a certain position so that the bubble is correctly positioned against the retinal tear. Freezing treatment is applied over the retinal tear to create a controlled scar around the tear and permanently seal it.
  • Vitrectomy - We remove the vitreous gel, which normally fills the eye, and can drain the fluid from under the retina. This is done through fine instruments through three small incisions through the white part of the eye. The retinal tear is treated with laser or cryotherapy (freezing) to seal the retinal tears. A gas bubble is placed in the eye after surgery to support the retina as the eye heals.

Retinal Tear Surgery

If you are diagnosed with a retinal tear that has not developed into a detachment, the retinal tear can be treated with laser or a freezing procedure (cryotherapy). This can be done in the office. The goal of the treatment is to create a controlled scar around the tear and seal it. It is still important to have eye exams after the procedure and monitor for additional symptoms, as additional retinal tears can still form elsewhere.

Make an Appointment

You can make an appointment with one of our retina specialists by calling 667-214-1111.

Retina Specialists

Albert S. Li, MD

Albert S. Li, MD

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Lisa S. Schocket, MD

Lisa S. Schocket, MD

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology