Retinal Tear

Information about Retinal Tear and Retinal Detachment

Retinal Tear

The back cavity of the inner eye is filled with clear jelly called vitreous. When the vitreous jelly undergoes the natural aging process it deteriorates and becomes liquid. As the eyeball moves, small pockets of liquid vitreous can move around inside the vitreous cavity. This movement causes the vitreous to pull on the retina, which causes patients to see "flashing lights" and "floaters." In most cases the vitreous jelly is only loosely adherent to the thin layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina) and easily pulls away from the retina as part of the natural aging process, normally occurring in people between the ages of 50 ? 70 years.

However, sometimes it is seen where the vitreous jelly is very adherent to the retina and as the vitreous jelly is pulling on the retina it can create a tear. If the tear occurs along a blood vessel of the retina it may cause bleeding which can lead to what is called a vitreous haemorrhage. Symptoms of a vitreous haemorrhage are when patients see floaters, flashing lights or a clouding of vision. Acute retinal tears with or without symptoms of flashes and floaters pose a large risk because fluid can enter through the tear under the retina and lift the retina off, causing a retinal detachment.

Laser treatment for retinal tear

There are laser and freezing treatments for retinal tears that can seal the retina to its underlying layer of support tissue. These treatments are usually painless and create a scar to seal the retinal tear. This prevents fluid from traveling through the tear and underneath the retina creating a retinal detachment.

To fully prevent a retinal tear is very difficult and as we age the risks for developing a retinal tear increase. However when performing activities that involve risk for eye injuries, you should always wear eye protection to decrease your chances of sustaining an ocular injury. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a retinal tear it is important to immediately contact your ophthalmologist to have your retina thoroughly examined.

 

Retinal Detachment

The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. A retinal detachment is when the retina partially or completely peels away from its underlying layer of support tissue. If the retina is fully detached it cannot send light signals back to the brain to be processed, resulting in vision loss and blindness. Depending on the severity of the detachment, vision loss may be severe and permanent. Irreversible damage can occur if the detachment is not repaired in 24-72 hours.

There are many possible causes for a retinal detachment such as: injury to the eye, blow to the head, eye diseases, eye surgery, conditions such as diabetes and excessive near-sightedness. The retina can be thinner in some people than others, making the risk of retinal detachment higher. Symptoms of retinal detachments are painless and usually consist of seeing flashing lights or floating spots in the vision, darkening of peripheral areas of vision, or an overall decrease in vision. The decrease in vision is sometimes described by patients as experiencing a "curtain" coming down into their field of vision. Some patients experience no symptoms at all.

There are surgical treatments for a retinal detachment and if treated in time may be able to restore vision. If there are areas of retinal weakening, Dr. Calotti may use laser treatment or freezing to stabilize those areas of the retina.

To fully prevent a retinal detachment is very difficult and as we age, the risk for developing a retinal detachment increases. However when performing high risk activities for eye injuries, you can always wear eye protection to decrease your chances of sustaining an ocular injury. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a retinal tear it is immediately contact your ophthalmologist to have your retina thoroughly examined.

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