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Detached and Torn Retina

Detached and Torn Retina Information

A retinal detachment is a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness unless it is treated. The retina does not work when it is detached. Vision is blurred like a camera picture would be blurry if the film were loose inside the camera.

Retinal Detachment

Causes of Retinal Detachment

The vitreous is a clear gel that fills the middle of the eye between the lens and the retina. 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 any problems. But sometimes the vitreous pulls hard enough to tear the retina in one or more places. Fluid may pass through the retinal tear lifting the retina off the back of the eye, like wallpaper can peel off a wall.

The following conditions increase the chance that you might get a retinal detachment:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Previous cataract surgery
  • Glaucoma
  • Severe injury
  • Previous retinal detachment in one eye
  • Family history of retinal detachment
  • Weak areas in your retina that can be seen by your ophthalmologist

View Video


Warning Signs of Retinal Detachment:

  • Flashing lights
  • New floaters
  • A gray curtain moving across your field of vision

The doctors of Eye Surgical Associates can diagnose retinal detachment during an eye exam where he or she dilates the pupils of your eyes. Some retinal detachments are found during routine eye exams. Only after careful examination can your ophthalmologist tell whether a retinal detachment is present.


Treatments for Tears and Detachments

Retinal Tears

Most retinal tears need to be treated with laser surgery or cryotherapy (freezing) to seal the retina to the back wall of the eye. These treatments cause little or no discomfort and may be performed in your ophthalmologist’s office. Treatment usually prevents retinal detachment.

Retinal Detachments

Almost all patients with retinal detachments require surgery to put the retina back in its proper place.

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