Retinal Tears

Retinal Tear DiagramOur optometry office in Athens is available for retinal tear detection.

Retinal tears are common, but they should be treated quickly to avoid vision loss. 

What is a Retinal Tear?

Your retina is made up of photosensitive cells that communicate with your brain, thus allowing you to see. It's quite thin and sometimes tears are part of the aging process. A tear will allow fluid to get under the retina, leading to a retinal detachment. That's why It's vital to have the problem addressed quickly by Dr. Eric Selander.

Why do Retinal Tears Happen?

The eye is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that breaks down and becomes more watery as we age. In people older than 60 years of age, this process often causes the vitreous to separate from the back of the eye. When this occurs, you are at risk of developing a retinal tear. The vitreous moves more easily when detached from the back of the eye, so it's very easy to develop a tear in your retina during the course of common, everyday movements. Some people are at higher risk for retinal tears, including those with:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Retinal thinning
  • Previous cataract surgery
  • A history of eye trauma
  • A family history of retinal tears
  • Retinal tears in the other eye

Symptoms of a Retinal Tear

Symptoms of retinal tears include flashes of light in the eye and seeing floaters in your vision. Retinal tears can also cause bleeding into the eye, which causes multiple floaters and vision loss.

Retinal Tear Treatment

Dr. Selander can diagnose a retinal tear during an eye exam. If a retinal tear is present, immediate treatment is required to prevent retinal detachment. 

Retinal tears are corrected through the creation of scar tissue around the tear. Scar tissue prevents fluid from seeping under the retina. There are two methods to build scar tissue. 

First and most common, laser photocoagulation creates tiny burns around the tear. Scar tissue is formed as the burns heal. 

The less common method is cryopexy. This may be recommended if the presence of blood prevents the surgeon from seeing the tear. A cryoprobe is placed on the outside of the eye and becomes very cold, creating a freeze burn around the tear. Scar tissue is created during the healing process. 

Following either type of treatment, you should not jar your head or move it suddenly for about two weeks or until scar tissue is fully formed.  

For more information about retinal tears, contact Liberty Eye Care at (423) 436-8972.



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