Retinal Tear: Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Retinal tear eye

  Last Updated on June 1, 2022 by Aaron Barriga

Do you know how do you see the objects in front of you? Your retina generates your vision by passing on visual information to your brain via the optical nerve. The retina is a thin layer of tissue near the optic nerve connected to the inside of the eyes.

But sometimes, tears can be formed inside the retina, known as retinal tears. This scenario is risky as it can lead to a torn or detached retina and eventually vision loss.

This post contains information on the causes of a retinal tear, risk factors, retinal tear symptoms, diagnosis, and retinal tear treatment.

What Causes Retinal Tear?

A retinal tear is an age-related issue. At birth, a substance similar to the consistency of the clear gel is attached to the retina. This substance is known as vitreous. It also fills the back cavity of the eye, with age vitreous starts to separate from the retina. This phenomenon is called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).

But in some people, vitreous is stickier. Therefore while separating from the retina, it pulls hard and causes it to tear. You might suddenly see light flashes or floaters. When blood gets leaked into the vitreous, it is called a vitreous hemorrhage. It raises the risk of vision loss. In rare cases, eye injury is also responsible for a retinal tear.

What are the Risk Factors Associated With Retinal Tear?

Although retinal tear occurs due to aging, the following conditions put you at a higher risk of developing it.

  • Being active in contact sports such as boxing.
  • History of cataracts or any other type of interocular surgery.
  • Nearsightedness or myopia.
  • Family history of retinal detachment or tear.
  • Eye injury or trauma.
  • Thinning of certain areas in the retina, also known as lattice degeneration.
  • Retinal tear or torn retina in one eye (it can also happen in fellow eye).
  • Intake of certain glaucoma medications makes the pupil small.

What are the Most Prominent Retinal Tear Symptoms?

If not treated promptly, a retinal tear can quickly progress to a detached retina. Therefore watch out for the following retinal tear symptoms:-

  • The appearance of floaters and light flashes are primary signs of retinal tear. You should act quickly if you notice a sudden surge in their numbers and occurrence.
  • Seeing a shadow in your peripheral vision.
  • Hazy vision, decrease in vision, or trouble in focusing.
  • Sudden headache.
  • The appearance of a slowly moving grey curtain across your sight.

How is Retinal Tear Diagnosed?

A retinal tear can be diagnosed through various types of comprehensive eye exams as there are hardly any visible signs from the outside. Your pupils can be dilated using eye drops to examine your eye from inside. Afterward, a binocular is used to check your eyes in a three-dimensional view.

Sometimes a slit lamp is also used to check the inside of your eyes in bright light. Pigments of blood cells can be visible through the illumination and magnification of your eye provided by the slit lamp. Eye check-up via an ultrasound device is required In case of dense bleeding inside the eye.

What are the Options for Retinal Tear Treatment?

There are 2 types of procedures to prevent the detachment of the retina. Your eye doctor will either do a freezing treatment or a laser retinal tear surgery. Both processes are usually performed in your eye doctor’s clinic only and involve minimal or no discomfort at all.

  • Freezing Treatment (cryopexy)

    As the name suggests, freezing treatment freezes your retina surrounding the retinal tear. In this way, the retina gets secured to the eyewall and is prevented from getting detached.

  • Laser Surgery (Photocoagulation)

    During retina laser surgery, minor burns are made around the retinal tear with the help of a laser. This scarring seals the retina to the underlying tissue. There are negligible chances of a torn retina after this surgery.

Recovery from retinal tear surgery comes in a couple of weeks. But the healing period may vary according to individual health conditions.

Final Words!

There is a possibility that your retinal tear won’t show any symptoms till it’s too late. Therefore the best way to avoid retinal tear resulting in a torn retina is to take care of your eyes and get them examined regularly.

A comprehensive eye exam can detect the retinal tear and save your retina from getting detached. The possibility of vision impairment is all the more reason to act upon treating a retinal tear quickly.

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