Retinal Tears & Detachment


The retina is the nerve layer at the back of the eye that helps you see. The macula, on the other hand, is the part of the retina that helps you see clearly and sharply in the centre of your field of vision.


Retinal tears are breaks in the retina that can happen when the vitreous shrinks and breaks down, pulling on the retinal layer. Fluid flows through the gaps that form, causing the retina to pull away from the back of the eye and detach.

Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition; the nerve layer stops functioning which causes vision loss. Retinal detachments need to be treated quickly to prevent permanent loss of sight.

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Retinal detachments may arise from various causes. Most of the time, a tear or hole in the retina is to blame. People who are very short-sighted, have eyes in which the retina has thinned or degenerated, or who have a history of retinal detachment in their family, are more likely to have retinal tears or detachments.

Retinal detachment can also be caused by diseases of the retina, such as severe diabetic retinopathy or inflammation inside the eye.



There may be a sudden rise in the number of floaters or flashes of light. In a certain part of the visual field, there may be a shadow or a blurring of the image. As the retinal detachment gets worse, the shadow or blurry area may spread out like a curtain to cover a larger area.

In many cases, though, the retinal detachment may not be noticed until a large part of the retina is affected or until it starts to come into contact with the macula, the central part of the retina. When the macula is affected, a person will lose their central vision and have a severe loss of vision. If there is bleeding inside the eye, the retinal tear could cause a sudden loss of vision.

If these signs show up, you should see an eye doctor right away to have a thorough eye and retina examination.