How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Retinal Tear?

The retina is the layer of specialized nerve tissue lining the back of the eye that allows you to see. The inside of the eye is filled with a clear gel-like substance called the vitreous. As we get older, the vitreous may pull away from its attachment to the retina at the back of the eye. Usually, the vitreous separates from the retina without causing problems. But sometimes the vitreous pulls and tears the retina in one or more places. Retinal tears can also occur from trauma to the eye, severe nearsightedness, or other retinal disorders. 

Retinal tears are painless. Some symptoms include seeing an increased number of floaters and flashes, and decreased vision. Floaters are small, moving spots in the field of view and can even be seen when the eyes are closed. A sudden increase in number or size of floaters may suggest a retinal tear. Flashes, the seeing of a bright light in your field of vision, is also a possible sign of a retinal tear. This happens when the vitreous pulls on the retina and causes a bright visual response.  

A tear in the retina is an issue that should be evaluated right away, because if left untreated it can extend and allow fluid to enter through the tear and separate the retina from the underlying tissue, causing a retinal detachment.

Retinal tears are usually treated with laser treatment to prevent the retinal tear from developing into retinal detachment. Laser treatment works by forming a scar around the retinal tear and prevents the vitreous from seeping through the tear. Occasionally it is not possible to perform laser treatment, and in this case, a freezing procedure called cryopexy is used to treat the retinal tear instead.

Because it can take up to a week for the laser treatment to seal the retinal tear, a recovery period of about 10-14 days is recommended. It is normal for light flashes or floaters to continue after the laser surgery. The laser treatment does not treat these, and they typically resolve gradually on their own over a period of weeks to months.

Early treatment of a retinal tear can preserve normal vision and prevent severe vision loss, usually avoiding a retinal detachment. If you suspect that you may have a retinal tear, contact our doctors in Phoenix right away for prompt treatment. For more information about retinal tear recovery or to schedule an appointment, contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or website today.

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