Retinal Tears and Detachment

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What are Retinal Tears?

When the back cavity of the inner eye, vitreous, undergoes the natural aging process and becomes liquid, it causes the vitreous to pull on the retina. Usually the jelly is loosely adherent to the retina and easily peels away from the retina.

However, occasionally, the vitreous jelly is adherent to the retina and pulls hard enough to create a retinal tear. Acute retinal tears pose a risk because fluid can enter through the tear under the retina, causing a retinal detachment.

Retinal tears may be sealed with lasers or cryotherapy to prevent retinal detachment. These treatments seal the retina to the wall of the eye.

 

What is a Retinal Detachment?

A retinal tear is considered serious because the vitreous liquid may leak through the tear, causing separation of the retina from the wall of the eye. This condition called a retinal detachment, and can lead to permanent blindness.

 

What are the symptoms of Retinal Tears and Detachments?

Retinal tears and detachments generally offer the following painless symptoms:

New Floaters: A sudden increase in the number and size of floaters perceived in your vision is a warning sign that a retinal tear could be in progress.

Flashes: The sudden appearance of flashes in vision may indicate that the vitreous material is pulling away from or tugging on the retina.

Shadow or curtain over vision: The onset of a growing, dark shadow or the appearance of a curtain being pulled over a portion of the vision in one eye is a sign of a retinal detachment.

Decreased vision: Another common symptom of a retinal tear or detachment is a sudden decrease in vision.

Many people experience flashes or floaters. However, if they are severe and seem to be getting worse, and/or you are losing vision then you should see us immediately.

 

What is the treatment for a Retinal Detachment?

An untreated detachment will cause the retina to lose its ability to function. Very small detachments of the retina can be surrounded by laser treatment, just like retinal tears, to help limit their spread. Large retinal detachments, however, need to be repaired surgically.

 

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