Spontaneous reattachment is extremely rare. With current therapeutic methods, over 90% of RD can be successfully treated, although in some cases a second treatment is needed. The visual outcome is not always predictable and, in general, better results correlate with a good initial visual acuity. About 40% of patients with successfully repaired detachment have excellent vision within 6 months of surgery. The other 60% of patients have various levels of reading and distance vision. Visual results are best if the RD is repaired before the macula detaches. If the macula was affected, only about 30% will get back reading vision. In general, the more severe the detachment and the longer it has been present, the less vision may be expected to return (the delay between the detachment and the surgery should be no longer than 7 days). Some patients, particularly those with chronic retinal detachment, do not recover vision. Treatment sometimes fails and vision may eventually be lost even under best circumstances and multiple attempts at repair.

RRD remains an important cause of preventable vision loss. Lattice degeneration, degenerative retinoschisis, cystic retinal tufts, and zonular traction tufts, have been identified as significant risk factors for RRD. Consequently, these lesions have been considered for close monitoring and/or prophylactic therapy. RRD is a significant post-surgical complication for patients who undergo cataract surgery, with 50% of detachments occurring within the first year following surgery. The risk is highest for patients who have intracapsular cataract extraction (ICCE). RD secondary to lattice degeneration tend to progress slowly, and are associated with surgical success rates of 98–100%. Patients with RD secondary to penetrating trauma have a poor prognosis.