Torn retina, is your eye in danger?

Torn retina, is your eye in danger?

Over 61% of Americans wear contacts or glasses so vision care isn’t a new concept but are you aware of other eye conditions beyond being near sided or far sided? Having a torn retina is a serious eye condition that has the potential to cause blindness. Let’s take a closer look at what retinal detachment and a torn retina is.

A torn retina is when the retina tears away from the supporting muscle, there is a collapse of the vitreous (A gel-like substance that fills up the center of the eye) which causes tugging on the retina. If there is enough tugging and force on the retina, it will be forced to pull away creating a tear. When the retinal tears, it leaves it’s cells without oxygen. Like another part of the body, without oxygen permanent damage can occur. In the retina’s case, loss of vision can occur if the retinal cells are left without oxygen for any extended period of time. Fortunately, there are some early symptoms of a torn retina you can catch before bad gets worse.retina diagram

Some warning signs for a torn retina include the sudden appearance of an apperance of debris in your vision such as spots or hairs that randomly appear, sudden flashes of light, or a shadow over part of your vision. If you experience any of these symptoms visit your optometrist immediately. A more serious condition, retinal detachment starts with a torn retina. When a tear in the retina occurs and is not corrected, vitreous fluid will seep through the tear and pull the retina away from the supporting muscle much like peeling off wallpaper. With fluid seeping between the layers, a separation occurs between the retina and supporting muscle causing a detachment and making it increasingly harder for the retina to get oxygen. While there are various types of tears, treatment options for a torn retina and retinal detachment are fairly similar.

Some treatment options include pneumatic retinopexy, scleral buckling surgery, and vitrecomy. All of these procedures vary from one another and you doctor and surgeon will determine the best route possible but generally speaking, the surgeon will create a space to compensate for the loss of vitreous fluid so there is less pressure on the tear in the retina, reducing the friction and stress on the muscles and cells. Post surgery you may be asked to use eye drops, eye masks and take care as to how your sleeping so that you have the best healing process possible.

People who are more prone to retinal detachment are people over 40, any prior eye injury or disease, and people with retinal detachment in their family. Having a retinal tear or detachment increases the risk for glaucoma. As always, consult your optometrist if you have any eye or vision related issues.

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