Retinal Tears & Retinal Detachment

Retinal Tears & Retinal Detachment

Ophthalmology Services

What are Retinal Tears & Retinal Detachment?

A retinal tear is when a tear or multiple tears form in the retina. This can lead to a higher risk of retinal detachment – when the retina pulls away from the tissue that surrounds it. The retina consists of thin, light-sensitive tissue that helps in generating vision.

Often, a patient’s retina tears before it detaches from the tissues around it. When the retina is torn, the fluid found in the eye leaks underneath which causes the retina to separate and detach. Retinal detachment could also occur on its own without retinal tears being a factor.

The symptoms surrounding retinal tears and retinal detachment are similar. Nevertheless, both eye conditions should be treated right away to avoid severe outcomes. As retinal tears lead to retinal detachment, permanent loss of vision is an outcome of the two eye conditions if left untreated

What are Retinal Tears & Retinal Detachment?

A retinal tear is when a tear or multiple tears form in the retina. This can lead to a higher risk of retinal detachment – when the retina pulls away from the tissue that surrounds it. The retina consists of thin, light-sensitive tissue that helps in generating vision.

Often, a patient’s retina tears before it detaches from the tissues around it. When the retina is torn, the fluid found in the eye leaks underneath which causes the retina to separate and detach. Retinal detachment could also occur on its own without retinal tears being a factor.

The symptoms surrounding retinal tears and retinal detachment are similar. Nevertheless, both eye conditions should be treated right away to avoid severe outcomes. As retinal tears lead to retinal detachment, permanent loss of vision is an outcome of the two eye conditions if left untreated

Types of Retinal Detachment

  • Tractional – Tractional retinal detachment occurs when scar tissue caused by damaged blood vessels in the back of the eye pulls on the retina. The damaged blood vessels are usually caused by diabetes.
  • Rhegmatogenous – Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment is the most common type of retinal detachment. It occurs because of retinal tears and is most likely to happen with age. As the vitreous gel in the eyeball shrinks with age, it can also lead to tears and the pulling away of the retina from the tissues around it. Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment can also take place in patients who have undergone eye surgery, experienced an eye injury or those who are short sighted.
  • Exudative – Exudative retinal detachment occurs when fluid builds up behind the retina without the presence of any tears on the retina. The fluid then pushes the retina from the tissues surrounding it, causing it to detach.

Exudative retinal detachment is most likely to happen in patients that have encountered an eye injury, resulting in leakage and inflammation of the blood vessels. This type of retinal detachment is also common among patients diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration.

Symptoms of Retinal Tears and Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is painless which is the reason the severity of this eye condition is often overlooked. There are a few warning signs that will appear before retinal detachment can occur or advance, such as:

  • Blurred vision
  • Gray shadow area in the field of vision
  • The appearance of many floaters in the field of vision
  • Frequent flashes
  • Reduced peripheral (side) vision

Diagnosing Retinal Tears and Retinal Detachment

Retinal tears and retinal detachment can be diagnosed during a routine eye check-up. An Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) or an ocular ultrasound will be used to observe the retina at a microscopic level. An OCT also allows the ophthalmologist to take photographs of the retina and identify the presence of tears as well as the severity of retinal detachment.

In cases where there is a limited view of the retina because of bleeding, an ocular ultrasound may be used to aid in diagnosing the retinal tear.

Treating Retinal Tears and Retinal Detachment

  • Laser therapy (thermal) or cold therapy (cryotherapy) – A thermal laser or medical freezing tool is used to seal the tear in the retina. Both methods create a scar that will also hold the retina in place, preventing it from detaching.
  • Pneumatic retinopexy – This treatment is used when the retinal detachment is not extensive. Pneumatic retinopexy involves administering a small glass bubble into the vitreous fluid of the eye. The bubble will cause pressure onto the retina, closing the tear. Cryotherapy may also be used in addition to seal the tear. The fluids that have leaked underneath the eye gets absorbed by the body and this allows the retina to stick to its surrounding tissues like usual.
  • Vitrectomy – The vitreous fluid in the eye is removed and replaced with a bubble of gas, oil, or air to push the retina back in its place. While gas and air bubbles get reabsorbed by the body, an oil bubble will have to be removed after a few months.

Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC) is home to expert ophthalmologists and eye surgeons that have undergone years of experience in the field of ophthalmology. At Eyecentric, our medical practitioners are also highly skilled in diagnosing, treating, and preventing severe eye conditions and disorders. Be it age-related macular degeneration or retinal detachment, we at SJMC make certain that each of our patients is cared for using a holistic approach.

Meet our Specialist

Dr Ronald Arun Das

Designation
Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreo Retinal Surgeon
Specialty
Ophthalmology






Dr V. Ulagantheran Viswanathan

Designation
Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreo Retinal Surgeon
Specialty
Ophthalmology