What is included in the emergency department (ED) care of retinal detachment?

Updated: Jul 08, 2021
  • Author: Hemang K Pandya, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bruce M Lo, MD, MBA, CPE, RDMS, FACEP, FAAEM, FACHE  more...
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ED treatment of retinal detachment consists of evaluating the patient and treating any unstable vital signs, preparing the patient for possible emergency surgery. Please see the examination guidelines as stated above.

In difficult cases, bedside ocular ultrasonography can facilitate prompt diagnosis of retinal detachment. Potential ultrasonographic mimics of retinal detachment (eg, posterior vitreous detachment [PVD] and vitreous hemorrhage [VH]) should be excluded.

Patient follow up should be based upon macula status: Whenever a macula-on retinal detachment is suspected, a retina specialist should evaluate the patient within 24 hours.

All patients should be instructed to limit strenuous physical activity. Upon discharge from the ED, patients should be provided with the name and contact information for a retina specialist located close to their home.

There exists a multitude of techniques for treating retinal detachments, including scleral buckling, pars plana vitrectomy, and pneumatic retinopexy. The retinal detachment repair is usually done on an outpatient basis.

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