logo retina consultants os austin

Retinal Tear

Vitreo-Retinal Surgeons & Specialists located in Austin, Round Rock, Marble Falls, and
Lakeway, TX

Retinal Tear

Retinal Tear

Retinal tears can become an emergency because they may progress to retinal detachment without immediate care. At Retina Consultants of Austin, with offices in Austin, Lakeway, Marble Falls, and Round Rock, Texas, the retina specialists offer same-day treatment for patients with retinal tears. Early treatment can preserve your eyesight if you have symptoms of a retinal tear. Call the nearest office or schedule an appointment online to get prompt help today.

Retinal Tear Q & A

What is a retinal tear?

A retinal tear is a tear in the light-sensing nerve tissues at the back of your eye. Your retina translates light into electrical signals, which move to your brain via the optic nerve. Then, the brain converts electrical signals to images. 

A tear in the retina can disrupt this process and cause problems with your vision. It’s best to treat a retinal tear to prevent it from progressing to a retinal detachment, in which the retina peels off the back of the eye. A retinal detachment can lead to vision loss and requires immediate treatment. 

What are the symptoms of a retinal tear?

Retinal tears can cause symptoms such as: 

  • Flashing lights
  • Shadows in your side vision (peripheral)
  • Many new floaters (floating shapes that drift through your vision)
  • Gray curtain that envelops part of your visual field

Retinal tears may not always cause symptoms. Sometimes, eye doctors diagnose retinal tears during a regular eye exam before they cause obvious symptoms. 

What causes a retinal tear?

Retinal tears usually occur when the vitreous body the gel-like material that fills your eye and maintains its round shape starts to shrink and thin. This is normal as you age, and usually, the vitreous shrinkage doesn’t cause issues. But, if it tugs on the retina as it shrinks, it can lead to a tear or detachment. 

Retina tears aren’t always predictable, but certain risk factors increase your chances of experiencing this issue. These include:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Previous surgery for cataracts, glaucoma, or another eye disease
  • Taking glaucoma medications that shrink pupil size
  • Severe eye trauma, particularly blunt trauma 
  • Retinal tear or detachment in your other eye
  • Family history of retinal tears or detachments

Lattice degeneration — weak areas within your retina — is another risk factor for retinal tears. 

How are retinal tears treated?

A retinal tear may be an urgent issue, so Retina Consultants of Austin offers same-day appointments. Treatment for a tear usually involves photocoagulation (laser treatment) or cryopexy (cold treatment) to close the tear and prevent detachment. Both are available on-site. 

If you have a retinal detachment, you generally need an injection procedure or surgery such as pneumatic retinopexy, scleral buckle, or vitrectomy. 

Call Retina Consultants of Austin or schedule an appointment online today to receive eye care for a retinal tear.