While infrequent, retinal tears and detachments are serious medical conditions that require prompt attention and treatment. Knowing the signs and treatment options could help you pursue the right medical treatment sooner.

Detecting Retinal Tear and Detachment

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of our eyes. It converts light rays into impulses that travel through the optic nerve to our brain, where they are interpreted as the images we see. A healthy, intact retina is key to clear vision.

A tear in the retina is a break in the retina. Tears can be associated with trauma or posterior vitreous detachments, but may also occur spontaneously. A retinal tear that is left untreated can lead to a retinal detachment by allowing fluid to pass through it. This fluid will then lift and separate the retina from the back of the eye, where it is in contact with the blood supply it needs for nourishment.

Prompt diagnosis and management are imperative to preserving the good health of your eye. The longer a retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater your risk of permanent vision loss.


While retinal detachments are painless, they are often accompanied by warning signs that are important to heed. These include:

  • The sudden appearance of floaters — tiny specks that seem to drift through your field of vision
  • Flashes of light
  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Gradually reduced side (peripheral) vision
  • A curtain-like shadow over your visual field

Treatment Options

Our Ophthalmologists can diagnose retinal tears and detachments, and then refer you to a retinal specialist for treatment. Treatment options may include:

  • Laser surgery to seal the retina to the back of the eye and prevent detachments
  • Pneumatic retinopexy, a technique that involves placing a small gas bubble within the eye to push the retina back in place as the tissue heals around it.
  • Vitrectomy, during which the surgeon removes the vitreous and replaces it with a sterile saltwater solution.
  • Scleral buckling, a procedure in which the surgeon uses silicone to reconnect the retina to the walls of the eye and its underlying tissue.

Have Questions About Retinal Tear and Detachment?

At Broberg Eye Care, our ophthalmologists are dedicated to maintaining the health of your eyes. Check out our other retinal tear and detachment resources, and contact our office today to schedule an appointment.