About Tears and Detachments
The middle part of the eye is filled with a clear, jelly-like substance called vitreous gel. As we age, this gel begins to shrink and pull away from the retina, causing flashes similar to lightning streaks in your field of vision. Clumps of vitreous gel could cast shadows on the retina, causing what we call floaters. These appear like small dots or clouds within your field of vision. Usually, the shrinking of the vitreous gel does not cause issues that are any more severe than flashes and floaters.
However, when the gel moves away too quickly or too firmly, the retina can become torn. After a tear has occurred, fluid begins to pass through the tear, lifting the back of the eye and eventually causing a full detachment. A retinal detachment is a very serious condition that can lead to blindness if left untreated. Eye Health Vision Centers is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and staffed with some of the best ophthalmologists in the country, who can diagnose and treat a retinal tear or detachment to help restore your vision. Schedule an appointment right away at our Middletown, RI or Fairhaven, Fall River, Taunton, or Dartmouth, MA location to expedite your diagnosis and treatment.
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The most common symptoms associated with a retinal tear or detachment (often very similar) are the sudden onset of floaters or flashes, blurred vision, and the loss of peripheral vision. Some patients do not experience any symptoms at all. Additional symptoms of a retinal tear or detachment include:
- Vision that appears to be shaded as if someone has dimmed the lights or closed the curtains
- The darkening of bright colors to dull or gray
- A sudden decrease in your normal vision
The cause of retinal tears and detachments is the pulling away of the vitreous gel from the retina. The shrinking of the vitreous gel is a natural occurrence that takes place as we age. However, when the gel pulls away too quickly or firmly, retinal tears and detachments occur. Patients with myopia (nearsightedness) and eye inflammation are at a greater risk for retinal tears and detachments.
If a retinal tear is discovered and treated before detachment occurs, treatment is less invasive and the prognosis is typically good. The treatments for a tear can include:
- Laser treatment causes scarring to the underlying tissue so the retinal tear can be sealed, preventing fluid from getting under the retina and causing detachment
- Cryotherapy offers a similar result by freezing the area to seal the tear, preventing further damage
Both of these methods are used to prevent the retinal tear from developing into a retinal detachment. But when detachment has already occurred, our team of ophthalmologists may need to perform surgery to place the retina back into its proper position. Retinal detachment can cause blindness if left untreated. The exact method used to treat your tear or detachment will be determined after a thorough examination and diagnosis at Eye Health Vision Centers. At that time, your treatment options will be given and discussed in great detail.
Call Today for Help
While retinal tears do not always lead to detachment and long-term vision loss, it is important to detect, diagnose, and treat the condition as early as possible. With the help of our skilled ophthalmologists at Eye Health Vision Centers, you can receive prompt, fast, and effective treatment that prevents further damage and repairs vision loss. Schedule your appointment today by contacting one of our greater South Coast-area facilities. We look forward to working with you.