How Do I Know if I Have an Eye Retinal Tear?

Retinal tears happen when the retina (a thin layer of tissue) pulls away from its normal position, raising the risk for retinal detachment. Though retinal tears are not painful, there are signs to look for. In fact, knowing these signs can save your vision, as immediate medical attention is necessary for eye retinal tears.

Let’s learn more about the signs and symptoms of a retinal tear, how to know if you’re at risk and when to see your eye specialist.

Symptoms of a Retinal Tear

Retinal tears are painless, so you need to pay attention to other symptoms. Generally speaking, an acute tear results in the sudden onset of floaters and flashers. Floaters are tiny specks that cross your field of vision, whereas flashers are bursts of light in one or both eyes. You may also notice reduced vision, gradually reduced side vision and a shadow over your field of vision. If you do not seek medical attention, a tear can quickly turn into detachment, leading to more pronounced symptoms.

Causes of Retinal Detachment

When we are born, the vitreous gel that fills the back cavity of the eye is attached to the retina. However, as we age, the gel separates from the retina and can cause posterior vitreous detachment or PVD. Usually, this happens without any problems. But, in some individuals, the vitreous is believed to be more “sticky” and abnormally pulls away from the retina, causing small tears. Most retinal tears occur spontaneously, though they can occur from eye trauma.

There are some risk factors that can increase your risk for retinal detachment, such as:

-Advanced age

-Myopia (nearsightedness)

-Eye trauma

-Family history of retinal tears

-Previous eye surgery

When to See an Ophthalmologist

If you notice floaters, flashers or blurred vision, see your eye doctor immediately. Retinal tears are emergency situations that must be addressed right away to preserve vision. If a retinal tear is caught before detachment, your outlook is good. The tear can be treated with laser therapy or a freezing procedure that is safe, effective and provided in the office. Very small tears may be able to heal themselves, though you and your eye specialist will work together to monitor it. If it turns out that the tear has resulted in detachment, your ophthalmologist will recommend a surgical treatment solution.

If you are at risk for retinal tears, it’s important to work with a qualified eye specialist who can help you monitor your vision. Contact Empire Retina Consultants to learn more about our advanced treatment solutions for retinal tears and detachment.