Retinal detachment (RD) is one of the most common causes of blindness. This separation of the neurosensory retina from its underlying retinal pigment epithelium results in photoreceptor loss, which is the basis of permanent visual impairment. This review explores the various cell death mechanisms in photoreceptor death associated with RD. One of the major mechanisms is apoptosis, mediated by the intrinsic pathway, the Fas signalling pathway and/or the caspase-independent pathway. Other pathways of mechanisms include endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated cell death, programmed necrosis and cytokine-related pathways. Understanding the mechanism of RD-associated photoreceptor death is likely to help us improve the current therapies or devise new strategies for this sight-threatening condition.