Things You Should Know about Retinal Detachment Causes and Types By Monterey County Eye Associates on April 28, 2022

A cross-sectional illustration of an eyeball with a detached retina

The retina is a delicate, photosensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. It plays a major role in our sight, as it alerts our brains to incoming light. Our brains then use this incoming information to help us make sense of the world around us.

When the retina loosens or detaches, it can cause serious, long-term vision issues, including blindness. At Monterey County Eye Associates, we can save your vision with contemporary treatments for retinal detachment. We have four conveniently located offices in Monterey, CA, Salinas, CA, and King City, CA, to serve your needs.

Here, our ophthalmologists will discuss the three types of retinal detachments, as well as some things you should know about retinal detachment causes. Understanding risk factors and causes can help you get the care you need to save your retina and sight.

Risk Factors

Risk factors are conditions or behaviors that make a disease or illness more likely to occur. When it comes to retinal detachment, there are several risk factors, including:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • An eye injury or an earlier case of retinal detachment in the opposite eye
  • Previous eye surgery, like cataract surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Extreme myopia, or nearsightedness
  • Posterior vitreous detachment, where the fluid in the eye pulls the retina from its original position
  • Other eye conditions, like lattice degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or retinoschisis

These risk factors contribute to the approximately one in 10,000 retinal detachment cases seen yearly. Additionally, our trained professionals can use these risk factors to help determine the type and extent of a detached retina. 

The 3 Types of Retinal Detachment

There are three retinal detachment types, including:

  • Rhegmatogenous
  • Tractional
  • Exudative


The eye is filled with a clear gel known as the vitreous body. As we get older, the consistency of the vitreous body changes. These changes can cause the vitreous fluid to pull away from retinal tissue, resulting in a retinal tear. The vitreous body seeps through the tear, resulting in a rhegmatogenous detachment.

In some cases, rhegmatogenous retinal detachment is painless. Instead, many patients report seeing bright flashes or floaters during retinal detachment. Regardless, the areas where the retina detaches will quickly lose blood supply and stop functioning without proper medical intervention.


The retina can generate scar tissue to heal from injuries caused by trauma or health conditions, like diabetes. This scar tissue, however, can put tension on the delicate retinal tissue. With enough tension, tractional force can begin to pull the retina from the back of the eye.


The retina does not need to have holes or tears to detach from the back of the eye. In some cases, non-vitreous fluid can collect underneath the retina, effectively pulling the retina from its original position. Exudative retinal detachment is typically caused by age-related conditions, like:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Inflammatory disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tumors or injury

Talk to Our Ophthalmologists Today

Regardless of which type of retinal detachment you have, it’s important to seek treatment as quickly as possible. Doing so could save your retina and vision. 

If you suspect a retinal detachment, then don’t wait–contact our Monterey ophthalmologists online right now. You can also call us to talk to our team directly at (831) 424-1150.

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The team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates

Monterey County Eye Associates
Leland H. Rosenblum, MD - MBEC
Eric J. Del Piero, MD

Our team of ophthalmologists provides state-of-the-art eye care using the latest technology. They are proud to be affiliated with: 

  • AAO: American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • ABO: American Board of Ophthalmology

To schedule an appointment, please call us at one of our four ophthalmologist office locations in Monterey, Ryan Ranch, Salinas, and King City, or contact us online.

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