Change Text Size : Normal Text Medium Text Large Text
Retinal Tears & Detachment
Retinal tears occur when a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) leads to pulling and then tearing of the retina. The tear then may allow fluid to get under the retina and cause a detachment.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) is when the vitreous separates from the retina.The vitreous is the clear gelly that fills the center of the eyeball. It is made of water and protein with the consistency of egg white. As we age, the protein structure breaks down and clumps of protein are seen as "floaters."

The vitreous may degenerate to the point where it separates from the eye wall. This is called a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). A PVD usually does not cause any problems. However, sometimes as the vitreous separates from the retina it may tug and cause a tear. This tugging on the retina causes flashes of light to be seen. Seeing flashes of light does not mean that one has a retinal tear, but it is a worrisome sign.

If a retinal tear is detected early it can be treated with laser in the office. However, a tear may progress to retinal detachment at which point more extensive treatment is needed.

Whenever one sees a sudden onset of floater with or without flashes, an eye examination should be sought to rule out a retinal tear.
Copyright 2009 Retina Institute of the Carolinas & The Macular Degeneration Center. All Rights Reserved.