A retinal tear can turn into a very serious eye problem if not treated quickly. Eventually, a tear can lead to a complete detachment which will cause the patient to lose eye sight in the affected eye. In some cases, it may be possible to repair the problem and restore vision. The key is identifying the symptoms fast and taking steps to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. The first step is knowing what the problem is and how to know when it happens.
What is a Retinal Tear?
A retinal tear is a hole or gap that forms in the retina. The retina is a layer of tissue that is found at the back of the eye. This tissue is light sensitive and can process images taken in through the eye. Once the image appears on the retina, which acts somewhat like a built in movie screen, it is carried off to the brain. The process happens quickly and works very well, until a problem forms in the retina.
When a tear happens, which can occur from an injury or eye swelling, it can allow a gel like fluid to leak in. The retina may eventually detach from the inside of the eye. With no light sensitive retina present to project images to the brain, the individual will notice a loss of eye sight.
Treating a Retinal Tear
Only a medical professional can treat a retinal tear. This generally requires one of a few different surgical procedures. Some surgeons will use a gas bubble to allow a seal to form over the opening and close up the tear. The closure will stop the flow of fluid and allow the detached retina to reattach, restoring eye sight. In other cases, the retinal tear may be closed by freezing (also called cryopexy), or using heat from a laser. The laser creates tiny scars around he opening which essentially scores it so that it can begin to heal closed.
A retinal tear should be treated by a doctor; however it is up to the patient to seek out medical help as soon as the symptoms appear. A sudden loss of vision, even partial, as well as a strange ring or floaters obstructing vision should be checked out right away. These could be signs that a retinal tear or complete detachment has happened and must be treated.