What is a Retinal Tear?
The middle interior of the eye is filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous. The vitreous is attached to the retinal wall. As we age, the vitreous begins to shrink and pull away from the retina. Generally, this is not an issue, and the space left in between the retina and the vitreous is filled with natural fluids. Other times, the fibers of the vitreous may be attached more firmly and as the rest of the vitreous shrinks back, the fibers pull on the retina. When this happens, the pulling may cause small holes or tears in the retina. The fluids that once filled the space between the retina and the vitreous may start to seep through the tears, leaving the eye at risk for retinal detachment.
What is a Retinal Detachment?
A retinal detachment occurs when the retina lifts off the back of the eye – much like wallpaper can separate from the wall. Generally, retinal detachment starts with a retinal tear. When the fluid inside of the eye seeps through the retinal tears, the fluid will cause the retina to lift off the back of the eye. Retinal detachment can happen with no warning symptoms, but often flashes and floaters can be warning signs of retinal tears.
What are the Symptoms?
A detached or torn retina is not painful, but some symptoms include:
- Flashes of light
- Seeing “floaters” in vision
- Darkening of your peripheral vision.
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.
There are many ways to treat a retinal detachment.
- Thermal (laser) or cryopexy (freezing) therapy.
- Pneumatic retinopexy
- Scleral buckle
Your doctor will determine the best course of treatment for your individual situation. If you have any other questions about retinal detachment or if you are showing symptoms, give Angioletti Retinal Associates a call today!