The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back wall of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain, allowing you to see. Many conditions can lead to a retinal detachment, in which the retina separates from the back wall of the eye, like wallpaper peeling off a wall. When the retina detaches, it is lifted or pulled from its normal position. In some cases there may be small areas of the retina that are torn. These areas, called retinal tears or retinal breaks, can lead to retinal detachment. 

Treatments may include laser, injection of gas into the eye, vitrectomy, or scleral buckle.  Each one or combination of these treatments is appropriate for different types of retinal detachment.

If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.  Like with many eye conditions, early detection and prevention is key.