Types of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachments dramatically alter your vision and can lead to permanent changes that cost you your eyesight. While many people are at least somewhat aware of the condition, many patients aren’t overly familiar with the different types of retinal detachment.  

Technically, all retinal detachments involve the retina moving away from the back of the eye, leading to visual distortions, blind spots, and other symptoms. However, how they occur varies. Retinal detachments are separated into three categories: exudative, rhegmatogenous, and tractional. Each represents a different cause for a retinal detachment.  

Here is an overview of the three types of retinal detachment.  


Exudative retinal detachment happens when fluid begins building up behind the retina. As the fluid level rises, it puts pressure on the retina, eventually causing it to tear away from the back of the eye.  

In most cases, exudative retinal detachments are caused by swelling in the back of the eye or blood vessels in or near the back of the eye leaking. Causes of swelling or leaking vessels can include injuries, age-related macular degeneration, disease-related inflammation, and tumors. Individuals with Coats disease are also at risk.  


Rhegmatogenous retinal detachments are the most prevalent kind of retinal detachment. These occur due to a small break or tear in the retina that allows the vitreous – a gel-like fluid in the eye – to flow behind the retina. As the vitreous positions itself behind the retina, it pushes against the retina. When the pressure is high enough, a detachment occurs.  

Most cases of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment are related to aging. As you get older, the vitreous can shrink or experience texture changes. At times, those changes pull on the retina, resulting in a tear. However, other situations – including eye surgeries, eye injuries, and nearsightedness – can also cause this type of retinal detachment.  


With tractional retinal detachments, the cause is typically scar tissue. As the scar tissue develops, it can tug at the retina, essentially pulling it away from the back of the eye.  

Generally, tractional retinal detachment is most commonly associated with diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition that individuals with diabetes may develop. Diabetic retinopathy leads to blood vessel damage, which can cause scarring. However, eye infections and other diseases can also cause retinal detachment. The same is true of eye swelling.  

Regardless of the cause, retinal detachment is a severe medical condition that requires immediate treatment. With quick treatment, vision loss can be minimized and even potentially reversible in some cases. As a result, anyone experiencing signs of retinal detachment – such as a sudden increase in floaters, bright light flashes, blurred vision, or darkening vision, among others – should seek emergency medical care immediately.  

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a potential retinal attachment, require care relating to a past retinal detachment, or simply haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

How Can I Fix My Vision Problems?

If you’re experiencing shifts in your visual acuity, you may wonder if there are steps you can take to fix the vision problems you’re noticing. While many vision issues require treatment from an eye care provider, there are steps you can take to ensure your eye health. In some cases, that may even resolve specific kinds of problems that are impacting your vision.  

Fortunately, many of the recommended steps are relatively simple to follow. Here’s a look at some things you can do to correct or avoid specific vision problems.  

Eat a Healthy Diet  

Specific vitamins and minerals are critical for eye health, and some may even prevent or slow the development of certain eye conditions that can rob you of your vision. Generally, eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to ensure you get the nutrients you need. For example, they can help make sure that you’re consuming enough lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E. Enjoying food with omega-3 fatty acids is also recommended for good eye health.  

Maintain a Healthy Weight  

Maintaining a healthy weight can positively impact your eyes in several ways. First, it may lower the likelihood that you’ll develop Type 2 diabetes, which can harm the blood vessels in your eye and lead to conditions like diabetic retinopathy. Additionally, it may lead to better circulation, lower blood pressure, and other health benefits that are also helpful if you want to preserve your vision.  

Properly Manage Health Conditions  

A variety of health conditions can harm your eyes and vision if they aren’t adequately managed. Type 2 diabetes is one example, as uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to diabetic retinopathy. High blood pressure can also damage your eyes, as well as conditions connected to chronic inflammation. By following your treatment regimen, you are more likely to address the concerning symptoms, reducing the odds of eye damage.  

Wear Protective Eyewear  

Protective eyewear, like safety goggles, reduces your odds of experiencing eye injuries that can harm your vision. Plus, goggles reduce your chances of accidental chemical exposure that could damage your eyes.  

Sunglasses can offer some light physical protection, too. However, they’re also able to block harmful UV rays if you choose lenses with UV-blocking technology. Since UV damage is connected to conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, and others, it’s a simple way to reduce your odds of developing a vision-impacting condition.  

Regular Eye Exams  

Regular eye exams are a critical part of the equation if you want to see clearly. By keeping up with your annual appointments, your eye care provider can identify changes that may require specific treatments. Additionally, they can ensure your prescription lenses are up-to-date, leading to better visual acuity.  

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you’re concerned about your vision or eye health, or simply haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.