Retinal detachment viewed from the slitlamp (Video)

This video shows a retinal detachment of the eye as viewed from the slit-lamp microscope. In this case, you see a large bullous rhegmatogenous detachment with a retinal tear/hole at the 1 o’clock position (the image is reversed).

Unless you are experienced with the retinal exam, this movie may be hard to interpret … retina exam is difficult, and it is even MORE challenging to capture on video. To help you understand this case, I speak through the entire video and label each of the structures.

The first third of the movie shows the bullous detachment. The second portion shows the retinal hole, both with a rodenstock contact lens and via a three-mirror lens. The final segment shows the ultrasound for this eye, which looks striking, as you can see how the retina is attached only at the optic nerve and ora serrata. You can also appreciate the retinal spike on the a-scan component of the ultrasound video.

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retinaldetachment.wmv (7.5 meg, Windows video file)


Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment
This photograph shows a large, bullous retinal detachment. This retina is being viewed through a contact lens. The vertical light beam runs over the detached retina below which looks pale, and normal retina above, which looks redder. Also, notice the slightly corrugated appearance of the detached retinal surface.
Retinal Tear
This bullous detachment is large and involves over 70% of the retina.
Retinal Hole
A retinal hole as seen with a three-mirror contact lens.
Hole in retina
Retinal tear that has progressed to a full rhegmatogenous retinal detachment.
Retinal detachment on ultrasound
The retina is attached at the optic nerve (the right part of the picture) and the ora serrata. If you look at the a-scan tracing on the bottom, you can see that the retina “spikes” more than lesser opacities like vitreous debris.
Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:


  1. please i would like other related videos to help me in my studies. I am an optometry student studying at KNUST. KUMASI. GHANA

  2. Thank you very much. Helped me appreciate the liquefaction of the vitreous and get a clearer mental picture of it. Great video!

  3. Thank you so much for the awesome video! You must spend a lot of time making this video, and it is very worthy because you do teach Med students a lot!


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