Retinal Tears & Detachments
Retinal tears most commonly occur spontaneously as a result of pulling by the vitreous gel on the retina, though they can also rarely occur with a direct blow to the eye. As life progresses, the gel that makes up the inside of the eye liquifies and begins to pull away from the retina in the back of the eye. During this process, some people experience flashes of light as the retina is stimulated by the tugging action of the separation. It is during this separation, called Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) that tears usually occur. Retinal tears can sometimes lead to retinal detachments.
Retinal detachments occur when the retina separates from the back wall of the eye. There are 3 types of retinal detachment.
- Rhegmatogenous – caused by a tear or hole in the retina as mentioned above
- Tractional – caused by scar tissue that contracts and causes the retina to pull away from the important retinal pigment layer in the back of the eye. This type of detachment is most common in patients with diabetes.
- Exudative – caused by fluid or protrusion without a tear, usually by leaking blood vessels or a tumor.
Treatments for tears and detachments may consist of laser, cryotherapy, surgical repair, or a combination of these.