Detachment of the retina signifies an inward separation of the sensory part of the retina from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). There is an accumulation of fluid in the space between the neural retina and the RPE known as subreti-nal fluid (Figure 13.1). The retina bulges inwards like the collapsed bladder of a football. Once detached, the retina can no longer function and, in humans, it tends to remain detached, unless treatment is available.
Although the condition is relatively rare in the general population, it is important for several reasons. First, it is a blinding condition that can be treated effectively and often dramatically by surgery. Second, retinal detachment can on occasions be the first sign of malignant disease in the eye. Finally, nowadays the condition can often be prevented by prophylaxis in predisposed eyes.
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