Retinal Detachment (TEAR)
As we age, the retina, a nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and sends images to your brain, becomes more vulnerable to retinal tears and detachments.
These serious eye conditions are caused by the movement of the vitreous, a clear gel that fills the middle of the eye. As we get older, the vitreous may pull away from its attachment to the retina at the back of the eye. While this usually causes no problems, sometimes the vitreous pulls hard enough to tear the retina.
If fluid passes through the tear, it can lift the retina off the back of the eye, resulting in a retinal detachment. This is a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness unless it is treated.
The following symptoms may indicate the presence of a retinal detachment:
- Flashing lights
- New floaters
- A gray curtain moving across your field of vision
While these symptoms do not always mean a retinal detachment is present, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Most retinal tears need to be treated with laser surgery or cryotherapy (freezing), which seals the retina to the back wall of the eye. Almost all patients with retinal detachments require surgery to put the retina back in its proper position.