Aims/Background: Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) is a potentially blinding condition. Obtaining an accurate estimate of RRD incidence in the population is essential in understanding the healthcare burden related to this disorder. Methods: A systematic review of all population-based epidemiology studies of RRD published between January 1970 and January 2009 from Medline database searches was performed. Results: RRD incidence demonstrates significant geographical variation and its incidence has been reported to be between 6.3 and 17.9 per 100 000 population. For studies with a sample size >300 the median annual incidence per 100 000 population was 10.5 (IQR 8.1-13.2) and the mean proportion of bilateral RRD was 7.26%. Overall, the mean prevalence of lattice degeneration was 45.7±20.3% and myopia was 47.28±12.59%. Conclusions: Estimates of RRD incidence have varied threefold, but inclusion criteria and other design features have differed across studies making direct comparisons difficult. The overall incidence of RRD is not yet well established: more incidence studies of adequate methodology are needed to explore temporal changes in incidence. RRD incidence varieswith ethnicity and is strongly associated with increasing age, myopia and certain vitreo-retinal degenerations. Due to changes in cataract surgery trends, the proportion of pseudophakic RRD presenting to specialised centres appears to be increasing.