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^K retinal detachment occurs when the retina is pulled away from or out of its normal position. Approximately 5% of the U.S. population has retinal breaks, but most do not lead to retinal detachment, which has a prevalence of 0.3%. Estimates are that 15% of people with retinal detachments in one eye develop detachment in the other eye, and the risk of bilateral detachment increases to 30% in people who have had bilateral cataract surgery.

The retina is the innermost lining of the eye and contains millions of photoreceptors, lightsensitive nerve fibers, and cells that are responsible for converting light energy into nerve impulses. The retina functions as film does in a camera: the light enters through the lens to the retina, and an image is transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve. The retina is attached to the choroid (vascular coat of the eye between the sclera and the retina) at two locations: at the

816 Retinal Detachment optic nerve and at the ciliary body. The remaining retina relies on the vitreous (jelly-like mass that fills the cavity of the eyeball) to apply pressure against the lining to maintain its position. The detachment can occur spontaneously as a result of a change in the retina or vitreous; this detachment is referred to as a primary detachment. Secondary detachment occurs as a result of another problem, such as trauma, diabetes, or pregnancy-induced hypertension. Complications from retinal detachment include visual impairment and blindness.

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