What Is a Retinal Tear?

Every year, approximately one to six people out of 10,000 develop retinal detachment, and many may not have ever heard of this condition. The retina is a thin part of your eye’s structure that is responsible for converting the light that enters your eye into signals that go to the optic nerve that then communicates with your brain. Most of the time, the retina stays flexible and strong, but there are a few things that can go wrong and lead to a tear.

How Do Retinal Tears Happen?

A torn retina occurs when this part of your eye gets a hole in it, much like you would see in a torn piece of clothing. If the tear becomes bad enough, the retina can completely detach from the back of your eye. Your retina is surrounded by vitreous fluid, which helps light to filter through the eye. As you age, the gel-like fluid shrinks and thins. While it usually continues to move along the retina without any problems, some people have thicker fluid that sticks to it and causes it to pull out of place. People who have extreme nearsightedness or have experienced a detachment in the other eye are at higher risk for developing retinal tears. There also seems to be a genetic link, which means you’ll want to share your family history with your ophthalmologist.

What Are the Symptoms?

The most common symptom people experience is seeing sudden flashes or floaters. This can have the effect of making it seem like someone has sprinkled pepper in front of your vision. Or, you might be able to compare it to seeing stars, if you’ve ever been hit in the eye. With serious retinal detachments, you might notice a shadow in your peripheral vision. It is also possible to feel as though someone pulled a gray curtain over your vision. Since retinal detachments can lead to permanent vision loss, it is best to have a retina doctor in Brooklyn perform an exam at the first sign of any of these symptoms.

How Do You Treat Retinal Tears?

A retinal specialist Brooklyn residents trust with their eye care will first perform a thorough exam that includes using special equipment to look deep into your eye where the retina exists. If they spot a tear or detachment, then they can perform vitreoretinal surgery to repair the damage. When you work with a specialist that uses advanced equipment that includes lasers, you can expect to experience a short procedure followed by a quick recovery time. Following your surgery, you may need to rest for a brief period of time and avoid driving while your eye heals. After you fully recover, you can go back to your normal activities and should return to your normal vision.

Retinal tears are more likely to occur as the vitreous fluid changes with age, but they can occur at any time. Since this eye injury can impact your long-term vision, it is important to seek prompt vision care that helps to determine the best course of treatment.