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What is Tractional Retinal Detachment?

What is Tractional Retinal Detachment?

Tractional retinal detachment is one of the three different kinds of this sight-threatening condition. It happens when scar tissue within the eye causes the thin layer of cells at the back of the eye (called the retina) to pull away from its usual position.

All retinal detachments can, if left untreated, cause blindness. Therefore, it’s essential to get specialist treatment should this happen to you.

The following looks at what tractional retinal detachment is and all the associated information surrounding the condition.

All About Tractional Retinal Detachment

  • What is tractional retinal detachment?
  • Why does it happen?
  • Risk factors
  • When to seek emergency help

What is tractional retinal detachment?

Tractional retinal detachment occurs when the thin layer of light receptor cells that lines the back of the eye is pulled away. It’s called tractional because this type of detachment is caused by scar tissue that’s developed on the retina and creates a force—or traction—that tugs on the retina, tearing it away from its position.

Our sense of sight depends on the retina to capture the light that enters the eye. This is then sent to the brain via the optic nerve, where it’s translated into the images we see. If there’s any interruption to this flow of information, vision is affected.

Why does it happen?

The most common cause of tractional retinal detachment is diabetic eye disease. One of the main symptoms of diabetic retinopathy is damage to the tiny blood vessels that oxygenate and feed the retina, causing scar tissue to develop. As these scars enlarge, they can pull the retina away from the back of the eye.

Risk factors

While being diabetic is the most common risk factor for this kind of retinal detachment, there are other causes. These include:

  • A previous severe eye infection
  • A previous severe eye injury
  • Swelling of the eye
  • A family history of the condition
  • A previous retinal detachment
  • Previous eye surgery, such as a cataract operation

What to do in an emergency

Diabetic or not, if you notice any sudden change in your eyesight then this could be indicative of an issue with your retina. Early signs include:

  • An increase in the number or size of floaters
  • Seeing flashing lights—usually in your peripheral vision
  • Increasingly blurry vision

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should speak to your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. While experiencing any or all of them doesn’t necessarily mean you have a retinal problem, a prompt diagnosis means effective monitoring and prompt treatment should the condition progress.

If you notice a dark shadow forming across your field of vision (usually coming from the top or upper corner and sweeping down, rather like a curtain) you should seek immediate medical help. This is caused by an active retinal detachment and requires urgent treatment. The retina can only remain viable if it receives nutrition and oxygen from the blood vessels at the back of the eye. The longer it remains detached, the less likely it is that your sight can be saved.

If you can’t get immediate help from your ophthalmologist, you should go straight to your nearest Emergency Room.

The WBEC is your One-Stop Shop for Tractional Retinal Detachment & all Eye Emergencies

At the West Boca Eye Center, we don’t believe in having to visit different places to deal with anything to do with vision. That’s why we’ve ensured that we have both the expertise and the facilities to cope with everything and anything related to eye health. 

From emergency retinal detachment treatment to routine eye exams and everything in between, the only place you need to visit for the highest level of treatment is our academic-grade clinic.

Find out more at

What is Tractional Retinal Detachment?
What is Tractional Retinal Detachment?

Tractional retinal detachment is one of the three different kinds of this sight-threatening condition.

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Located 1/2 miles North of West Boca Medical Center on Glades Road, directly behind Macy's Furniture Gallery.

West Boca Eye Center
9325 Glades Road, Suite 201.
Boca Raton, FL 33434

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