Vitreous Detachment, Retinal Tear, and Retinal Detachment

Vitreous Detachment, Retinal Tear, and Retinal Detachment

Peter W. Clark

Christopher P. Hogrefe


The annual incidence of retinal detachment (RD) in the general population is reported to be between 0.8 and 1.8 per 10 000 persons per year for a lifetime prevalence of 1 in 300.1,2 As such, RD is one of the most common ocular emergencies to present to an emergency department (ED). Prompt recognition and referral can significantly improve a patient’s chances of meaningful visual recovery. However, the signs and symptoms of RD often share similarities with posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), which is more common and generally does not cause vision loss. The role of the emergency provider in this setting should be to identify those patients at high risk for current or impending RD in order to determine the urgency of ophthalmology referral.

RDs can be categorized into three distinct categories. Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD, from the Greek rhegma, meaning “break”)3 is the most common type and most likely to present acutely. Other categories include those produced by scar tissue pulling on the retina, known as tractional retinal detachments (TRD), and those produced by breakdown of the blood retina barrier (BRB) and fluid leakage under the retina, known as exudative retinal detachments (ERD). Accurate diagnosis is important because the risk factors, management, and prognosis between these types of RD are distinct.

Nov 11, 2022 | Posted by in EMERGENCY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Vitreous Detachment, Retinal Tear, and Retinal Detachment

Full access? Get Clinical Tree

Get Clinical Tree app for offline access