A retinal tear occurs when part of the retina separates from the outer layers of the eye.
If not treated early, retinal tears can lead to a more serious condition called retinal detachment, which may lead to partial or complete loss of vision.
Retinal tears are painless. Some symptoms include seeing an increased number of floaters and flashes, and decreased vision.
Floaters are small, moving spots in the field of view and can even be seen when the eyes are closed. A sudden increase in number or size of floaters may suggest a retinal tear.
Flashes, the seeing of a bright light in your field of vision, is also a possible sign of a retinal tear. This happens when the vitreous pulls on the retina and causes a bright visual response.
Retinal tears can progress to a more serious stage when retinal detachments occur. Early detection of retinal tears is essential to prevent the problem from worsening.
Avoidance of eye trauma can help to reduce the risk of retinal tears.
What causes retinal tears?Retinal tears occur when the gel-like vitreous in the eye becomes more liquid and exerts an abnormal pull on the retina.
What puts me at risk of retinal tears?If you have high degree myopia (short-sightedness), you could have a higher risk of retinal detachment due to thinning of the retina predisposing to the development of holes or tears.
Family history may contribute to the risk. Another risk factor is post-surgery for cataracts.
Regular eye examinations can pick up problems early. With prompt treatment, a torn retina can be fixed before full retinal detachment occurs.
Diagnosis is made by clinical examination.
Retinal tears are usually treated with laser treatment to prevent the retinal tear from developing into retinal detachment.
Laser treatment works by forming a scar around the retinal tear and prevents the vitreous from seeping through the tear.
Some retinal tears do not need treatment as they may not lead to retinal detachment. However they may still need to be observed and followed up to ensure that the retina remains stable.
Treatment of retinal tear is usually successful with a success rate of 95%. Early treatment of retinal tear can preserve normal vision and prevent severe vision loss.
Eyedrops are not needed after laser treatment. Vigorous exercise should be avoided for 2 to 3 weeks.
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