The retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eye. The retina is attached to the vitreous, which is a gel-like substance that composes most of the volume of the eye. As a result of the aging process, the consistency of the vitreous changes and becomes thinner. This can change the shape of the vitreous causing it to pull away from the retina creating a tear. Without treatment, a retinal tear will cause a retinal detachment.
Causes of a Retinal Tear
Retinal tears can also be caused by:
- Blunt force trauma to the eye
- A complication of eye surgery
- Posterior vitreous detachment
- Family history
Symptoms of a Retinal Tear
While a retinal tear does not usually cause pain, patients may experience the following symptoms:
- Flashes or floaters in their field of vision
- A reduction of vision
- A shadow or curtain forming in the peripheral vision
- Vision changes
It is important to see your doctor at the first sign of a retinal tear.
Diagnosis of a Retinal Tear
The sooner the tear is diagnosed and treated, the less likely it will develop into a retinal detachment. Diagnosis of a retinal tear is made after a thorough medical eye examination and the performance of the following diagnostic tests:
- Dilated eye examination
- Ultrasound of the eye
- Fundus photography of the retina
- Visual acuity test
- Slit-lamp examination
- Fluorescein angiography
Treatment of a Retinal Tear
Early detection of a retinal tear can often prevent the retina from detaching through prompt treatment. A retinal tear is treated with either a laser or cryotherapy procedure, or both, depending on the size and location of the tear. Either method of treatment is painless and is used to seal the retina to the wall of the eye. Fluid is then prevented from traveling through the retinal tear causing a retinal detachment. While a tear may have been repaired in one part of the retina it does not prevent another one from developing in another area of the retina. It is important to have regular eye examinations so that the condition may be monitored.
To learn more about our Retina and Vision Services, please contact us at (212) 604-9800 today to schedule an appointment.