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Retinal Detachment - Exams and Tests

To diagnose retinal detachment, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, past eye problems, and risk factors. The doctor will also test your near and distance vision (visual acuity) and side (peripheral) vision. These routine vision tests do not detect retinal detachment, but they can find problems that could lead to or result from retinal detachment.

A doctor can usually see a retinal tear or detachment while examining the retina using ophthalmoscopy. This test allows the doctor to see inside the back of the eye using a magnifying instrument with a light.

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If a retinal tear or detachment involves blood vessels in the retina, you may have bleeding in the middle of the eye. In these cases, your doctor can view the retina using ultrasound, a test that uses sound waves to form an image of the retina on a computer screen.

Early detection

It's important to have routine eye exams so that your eye doctor can look for retinal tears or other eye problems that could lead to retinal detachment. If you have a condition that puts you at high risk for retinal detachment—such as nearsightedness, recent cataract surgery, diabetes, a family history of retinal detachment, or a prior retinal detachment in your other eye—talk to your doctor about having more frequent exams to detect problems in their early stages.

If you notice floaters or flashes of light, let your doctor know about it right away. These symptoms could be a warning sign of a retinal tear that can lead to detachment.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 15, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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