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Retinal Tear and Detachment

What is a Retinal Tear?

A retinal tear is a small microscopic defect in the retina, the back lining of the eye responsible for sensing light and providing vision. A tear usually occurs due to age related changes and internal forces within the eye but can less frequently occur in the setting of trauma or prior ocular surgery. A retinal tear typically presents with symptoms of flashes and floaters, however some patients do not have any symptoms when a tear is found. A dilated eye exam with a trained retinal specialist will confirm the presence of a tear. Although not vision threatening in itself, a retinal tear can progress rapidly to a retinal detachment, which may result in permanent vision loss. Treatment for a retinal tear is usually needed and done in office with laser or freezing treatment, both of which are done same day at Beach Cities Retina.

Chart Illustrating a Retinal Detachment

What is a Retinal Detachment?

A retinal detachment is a serious visual condition in which the retina separates from its natural attachment point in the eye leading to severe loss of vision. Typically, a retinal detachment starts from a small retinal tear and expands, eventually resulting in the loss of the entire visual field. Patients typically report seeing a new onset of flashing lights, floaters or cobwebs, and a shade/curtain or a section of vision that just appears missing in one eye. A retinal detachment is diagnosed by a dilated examination and nearly always requires surgical treatment. The goals of surgery are to restore the retina to its natural attachment point and improve vision in the affected eye. After surgery, you will be asked not to perform strenuous physical activity to position your head appropriately to give the retina the best chance to heal.

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