Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment describes an emergency situation in which a critical layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nourishment, consequently leaving the retinal cells to lack in oxygen. The longer retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater your risk of permanent vision loss in the affected eye.

Luckily, retinal detachment often has symptoms that are clear warning signs. Early diagnosis and treatment of retinal detachment can save your vision. If you suspect you may have a retinal detachment, contact an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) at the Eye and ENT service line at The Aga Khan University Hospital as soon as warning signs appear.​​

Retinal detachment warning signs and symptoms almost always appear before it occurs or has advanced. Retinal detachment symptoms may include:

  • The sudden or gradual appearance of small bits of debris in your field of vision that look like light flashes, hair or strings which seem to float before your eyes

  • Appearance of a curtain over  your visual field

Note that Retinal detachment is painless. ​

Retinal detachment is an emergency situation in which you can permanently lose your eyesight. If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, immediately rush to the Eye and ENT service line at The Aga Khan University Hospital or the 24/7 Emergency and Acute Care Service Line.
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand.

Here are some tips to help get you started.

Patients receive comprehensive, individualized patient care through our unique clinical programs and centres at The Aga Khan University Hospital. Our programs bring together teams of specialists within the Eye and ENT service line to provide an integrative, multidisciplinary approach to patient care.

Your doctor may use the following tests, instruments and procedures to diagnose retinal detachment:

  • Ophthalmoscope. Our doctors at The Aga Khan University Hospital use a special instrument with a bright light and a special lens to examine the inside of your eyes. Ophthalmoscope provides a 3D view of the inside of your eye letting your doctor know about any damage to the retinal holes.

  • Ultrasonography. This test uses sound waves to create a picture on a video monitor. The sound waves travel through your eye and bounce off your retina and other structures within the eye to create the image.​​

The Aga Khan University Hospital Eye and ENT service line provides world-class care, skill and expertise to its patients. Staffed with dedicated physicians and nurses, The Aga Khan University Hospital offers a wide variety of services to cater to all of your vision needs.

  • Laser surgery (photocoagulation):  Our internationally trained surgeons in the Eye and ENT service line, at The Aga Khan University Hospital; use a laser beam which burns around the tear creating a somewhat welding effect between the tears and the underlying tissue.

  • Freezing: The process, called cryopexy, our highly trained and experienced surgeon applies a freezing probe to the outer surface of the eye directly over the retinal defect creating a freezing effect joining the tear with the retinal wall.

  • Vitrectomy:  The doctor will try to flatten the detached retina back to its place. The doctor injects a bubble of air or gas into the vitreous, in order for the retina to remain flat.

  • Indenting the surface of your eye: This procedure, called scleral buckling, involves the doctor sewing (suturing) a piece of silicone rubber or sponge to the white of your eye (sclera) over the affected area. The silicone material indents the wall of the eye and relieves some of the force caused by the vitreous tugging on the retina.​​​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

 The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

 The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.


The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.