Retinal Tears

A retinal tear occurs when there is a tear in the tissue at the back of the eye (the retina). Retinal tears should not be left undiagnosed or untreated. The tear can pass fluid through, potentially causing retinal detachment which can lead to blindness. Retinal tears can happen at any age. Common causes include: injury or eye trauma, age, eye surgery, or extreme nearsightedness (myopia).

Symptoms of a Retinal Tear

Not all retinal tears will present symptoms. However, common symptoms of a retinal tear include:

  • Flashes & floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Darkened or shadowed peripheral vision

Diagnosis & Treatment of a Retinal Tear

Because a retinal tear can progress to retinal detachment and blindness, early diagnosis is key. And because not all retinal tears have symptoms, seeing your eye doctor for regular annual visits is important.

A retinal tear can be diagnosed by your doctor with a thorough, non-invasive examination using a 3-lens mirror. Under uncommon circumstances, an ultrasound of the eye (ophthalmic ultrasound) may be necessary. Retinal tears can be treated in your doctor’s office using a laser. Once the tear is treated, nearly eliminating the risk for progression to a retinal detachment, there is still future risk of developing new tears. Therefore it is imperative to keep up with your eye doctor’s recommended preventative care exam schedule.