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Retinal Tear

A torn retina is a severe eye problem that can cause your vision to become blurry. It often leads to a more serious condition called a detached retina.

A detached retina is where the retina is lifted away from the back of the eye. A torn retina requires immediate treatment to prevent further problems.



As you age, the vitreous in your eyes begin to shrink and become liquefied. Typically, the vitreous moves around without causing issues to the retina, but in some cases, the vitreous detachment pulls off a portion of the retina, causing a tear. When this happens, fluid can pass through the tear and lift or detach the retina. When the retina tears, you may see flashes of light or floaters.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors for having a torn retina:

  • Taking glaucoma medications that restrict or shrink the pupil
  • Severe eye injury or trauma
  • Having a detached or torn retina on in the opposite eye
  • Having family members with retinal detachment
  • Having thin spots in the retina


Warning Signs of a Torn Retina

A torn retina must be checked by an ophthalmologist or eye doctor immediately. Otherwise, your retina may detach, resulting in vision loss.


  • You see flashing lights.
  • You notice floaters
  • A shadow appears in your peripheral vision
  • A grey curtain covers some of your field of vision
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Retinal Tear vs. Retinal Detachment

Retinal tears are small rips in the retinal tissue. The retina has not yet fully detached, but parts of it are no longer attached to the back of the eye. A retinal tear may lead to retinal detachment. 

On the other hand, retinal detachment refers to a partial or complete lack of attachment of the retinal tissue along the back of the eye.

The longer a detached retina remains detached, the bigger the risk of permanent vision loss.



Our retina specialists at Southeast Eye will check for retinal tears by placing drops in your eyes to dilate your pupil. They will look through a special lens to assess any changes inside the eye. This is the most efficient way to see if you have a retinal tear or early retinal detachment.


Treatment Options

Retinal Tear Laser Surgery: During retinal tear surgery, a laser seals the retina to the wall of the eye. The goal is to prevent fluid from entering through the tear and detaching the retina.

SEES Management Solutions Retinal Tear & Detachment Doctors

Eric Kostamaa, M.D.

Eric Kostamaa, M.D.

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