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Retinal Tear

Retinal Tear

Retinal tears develop when the vitreous gel that fills the eye pulls on the retina.  The retina is a thin layer of tissue at the back of they eye that captures light.  Retinal holes develop due to progressive thinning of the retina.

If one has many floaters or flashing lights, we worry about a retinal tear or detachment.


When the vitreous gel (See Posterior Vitreous Detachment) separates off the retina, a break or a tear in the retina can occur.  When a tear is present, the fluid inside the eye can go under the tear and cause the retina to detach.

When a retinal tear occurs, it can lead to some concerning symptoms. You might notice sudden floaters (tiny specks or spots) in your vision or flashes of light. Sometimes, a retinal tear can lead to a retinal detachment which can cause a shadow or curtain-like defect in your peripheral vision.

If a patient is seen when there is only a tear, then laser, or a freezing technique called cryopexy, can be done to spot weld the tear to prevent it from progressing to a full-blown retinal detachment.  This procedure takes a few minutes and can be done in the office.  This helps prevent the occurrence of a retinal detachment which would require surgery.

Dr. Adatia will speak to you about your individual risk when consenting you for this procedure. The main risk is that although, this greatly reduces your risk of a retinal detachment, it cannot reduce your risk to zero.  It is important for patient to be vigilant of new or worsening symptoms such as more floaters or a black curtain in their vision.

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