Diagnosis is with direct opthalmoscopy and there is a hazy gray membrane where the retina becomes detatched. Many tears are peripheral and not seen with opthalmoscopy.
Ultrasound is a useful method that can be used in the emergency department to diagnose retinal detatchment. It has been used by ophthalmologists for some time, but has only recently been adopted for use in the emergency department.
In the Annals of Emergency Medicine, a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies looking at the diagnostic accuracy of ocular ultrasound for retinal detatchment was recently published.
This systematic review identified 4 studies looking at diagnostic accuracy of ocular ultrasound. 3 of the 4 studies were identifyed as being low risk for bias. Sensitivity ranged from 97-100% and specificity ranged from 83-100% respectively. These studies show that the use of ocular ultrasound is excellent for making the diagnosis of retinal detachment and is probably a better test than direct opthalmoscopy.
- Vrablik ME et al. The diagnostic accuracy of bedside ocular ultrasonography for the diagnosis of retinal detachment: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Emerg Med. 2015; 65(2) 199-203