Accurate characterization of a retinal detachment as traumatic is often difficult, but is important because it may instigate a careful search for occult coexistent traumatic pathology, affect the prognosis and the treatment of both eyes, influence insurance coverage benefits and medical-legal determinations, and is essential for epidemiologic studies. We review the epidemiology and pathophysiology of traumatic retinal detachment, common obstacles to correct diagnosis, diagnostic guidelines, and outline categories of traumatic causal relationships. Because there is no generally accepted definition of traumatic retinal detachment, we offer a practical one. Categorization as traumatic should be based on the particular history and physical examination rather than epidemiologic criteria.
Keywords: causal relationship; retinal detachment pathophysiology; rhegmatogenous retinal detachment; traumatic retinal detachment; traumatic retinal tears.
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