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retinal detachment[‚ret·ən·əl di′tach·mənt]
a disease of the eye in which the retina separates from the outwardly adjacent pigment epithelium. Retinal detachment may be primary, that is, spontaneous, or secondary.
With primary retinal detachment, the retina is ruptured or abrupted from its site of attachment to the pigment epithelium.
It is detached by the vitreous humor, which seeps under it through the rupture. The opening usually originates where the retina degenerates, and thus detachment is most often observed in older persons or in those with severe myopia. Retinal detachment may also result from eye trauma. Patients complain of a dark shadow in front of the eye that appears to travel from a specific side of the visual field, that is, from above, from below, from within, or from without. Another common complaint is photopsia—the illusion of sparks and luminous lines before the eyes. Vision is drastically reduced, and treatment must involve surgery.
The etiology of secondary retinal detachment is associated with other eye diseases, for example, inflammatory and oncological diseases and affections of the vessels of the fundus of the eye. Retinal rupture usually does not occur in secondary detachment. The condition is treated by curing the underlying cause.
L. A. KATSNEL’SON