Anytime subretinal fluid accumulates in the space between the neurosensory retina and the underlying retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a retinal detachment occurs. Depending on the mechanism of subretinal fluid accumulation, retinal detachments traditionally have been classified into rhegmatogenous, tractional, and exudative.
The term rhegmatogenous is derived from the Greek word rhegma, which means a discontinuity or a break. A rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) occurs when a tear in the retina leads to fluid accumulation with a separation of the neurosensory retina from the underlying RPE. This is the most common type of retinal detachment.
Intraocular surgery is a major risk factor in the development of RRD. Since cataract surgery is the most common intraocular procedure, it also is the most common risk factor for RRD. It has been estimated that 20-40% of RRDs occur in eyes that have undergone cataract extraction.