It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dr. Rahul Reddy. Click here to read more about Dr. Reddy

How Do You Fix a Torn Retina?

A detached retina almost always requires emergency surgery for repair. Retinal detachment is when the tissue at the back of the eye pulls away from the layer of blood vessels necessary for providing oxygen and nourishment to the eye. The longer the retina is detached, the greater the risk of permanent vision loss. Prompt medical attention is required to preserve vision. Retinal tears, on the other hand, are not quite as serious as retinal detachments yet if left untreated, tears can lead to detachment. Retinal tears typically form when the vitreous gel shrinks within the eye and gradually pulls on the retina. The vitreous helps maintain the shape of the eye and allows light to pass through the retina. A torn retina can also be caused by physical trauma or an injury to the eye. Or simply natural age. After age 60, vitreous gel tends to separate from the back of the eye, known as posterior vitreous detachment, and can cause a torn retina.

The development of a retinal tear can allow fluid to pool beneath the retina eventually causing retinal detachment. Sometimes a retinal tear can lead to bleeding in the eye that can cause many new eye floaters or loss in vision if blood fills the eye. Although it is possible for minor retinal tears to heal on their own, fixing a torn retina that is more severe can usually be resolved with laser surgery. Oddly, the laser is used to create tiny burns around the retinal tear. The laser basically seals down the retina, preventing the torn retina from further progressing to retinal detachment. While most retinal tears are treated with laser photocoagulation, cryotherapy is another option to fix a torn retina. Cryotherapy is a form of treatment that freezes the tear or small area of retinal detachment to create scar tissue. This scar tissue then acts as a seal to help the retina reattach to the underlying tissues securing it back in its proper place. If retinal tears develop into retinal detachments, surgery options include a vitrectomy, scleral buckle, or pneumatic retinopexy. 

Floaters, flashes of light, streaks in vision and blurry vision are common signs of a torn retina or possible retinal detachment. Risk factors for developing a retinal tear include family history of retinal tears or detachments, lattice degeneration (thinning in the retina), cataract or intraocular surgery, history of trauma to the eye, previous retinal tears or detachments and myopia (nearsightedness). 

If you are experiencing signs of a retinal tear or detachment, seek emergency medical help right away. For a full retinal exam where Associated Retina Consultants can evaluate your retina to ensure the health and clear vision of your eyes, call today at 602-242-4928 or set up your appointment here Phoenix. 

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