Treatment for Retinal Detachment and Tears: What Patients Should Know By Eric Del Piero on August 15, 2014

An older couple together outdoors and smilingThe team here at Monterey County Eye Associates is able to address a diverse range of vision problems and eye health issues. This includes relatively simple problems such as refractive errors as well as more advanced eye health problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and eye injuries. Following a serious eye injury, your retinas may become detached or torn. Retinal detachment and retinal tears should be treated as soon as possible to restore vision and prevent blindness.

We'd like to use this blog post to go over some of the basics of retinal detachment and the treatment options that are available.

What is retinal detachment?

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eyes which sends light signals to the brain. This tissue is crucial for proper vision. Retinal detachment refers to instances in which the retina peels off from the back of the eye. Full detachment may occur, or simply tears in the retina, which are also serious issues.

Symptoms of Retinal Detachment and Tears

The most common symptoms of retinal detachment and tearing include the following:

  • The appearance of floaters in a patient's field of vision
  • Flashes of light in one eye or both eyes
  • Darkening or reduction of field of vision

Common Causes of Retinal Detachment and Tears

Some of the most common causes of retinal detachment and retinal tearing include the following:

  • Tugging of the retina by the vitreous gel within the eye
  • Head trauma
  • Injury to the eyes
  • Inflammatory eye disease

It should be noted that apart from injury, retinal detachment and tearing can both occur as part of the natural aging process.

Laser Surgery (Photocoagulation)

For retinal tears, laser surgery is often a good treatment to consider. During photocoagulation, a laser is used to help weld/reattach the torn portion of the retina back to the rest of the tissue. This created scar tissue is strong and not harmful to your eyesight or eye health.

Freezing (Cryopexy)

Another option for retinal tears is a freezing treatment. Cryopexy involves the use of a freezing probe that is applied to the portion of the eye where the retina is torn. This creates scar tissue that helps seal the torn portion of the retina in place.

Air or Gas Injections (Pneumatic Retinopexy)

When the retina has detached, one treatment to consider is air or gas injection. This process of pneumatic retinopexy involves the creation of a safe gas or air bubble in the eye that helps press the detached portion of the retina back into place. The bubble is eventually absorbed safely into the body.

Indenting the Surface of the Eye (Scleral Buckling)

Scleral buckling is ideal for cases in which there are tears in the retina caused by issues with the vitreous fluid. Small indentations are made on the eye's surface to help reduce the amount of tugging/pulling on the retina that is caused by the vitreous gel.

Drainage and Replacement of Fluid (Vitrectomy)

Another good treatment for retinal detachment caused by issues with the vitreous gel is a vitrectomy. This involves the total replacement of the vitreous gel. Pneumatic retinopexy may be part of this treatment process to ensure reattachment of the retina.

Speak with Our Eye Care Experts

For more information about treating retinal detachment and tears, it's important that you contact our vision correction and eye care centers today. The entire team at Monterey County Eye Associates looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve excellent vision and healthy eyes.

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The team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates

Monterey County Eye Associates
Monterey Bay Eye Center

Our team of ophthalmologists provides state-of-the-art eye care using the latest technology. They are proud to be affiliated with: 

  • AAO: American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • ABO: American Board of Ophthalmology

To schedule an appointment at one of our four ophthalmologist office locations in Monterey, Salinas, and King City, contact us online or call (831) 424-1150.

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