The retina is a layer of nerve tissue at the back of the eye that plays a key role in the ability to see. The middle of the eye contains a clear gel called vitreous that is attached to the retina. As the vitreous gel pulls loose, it will sometimes exert traction on the retina, causing it to tear. From there, this fluid may pass through the retinal tear, lifting the retina off the back of the eye.
When the retina is pulled away from the back of the eye, it’s called a retinal detachment. If the retina becomes detached or peels away from the supportive tissue on the back of the eye, it can impair vision or cause blindness. A detached retina must be treated with surgery, while a torn retina may be treated with lasers or surgery.
A retinal tear or detached retina may be caused by:
Some common types of retinal detachment include:
The most common detached retina symptoms include:
A torn or detached retina requires immediate treatment. A torn retina can become detached quickly. Once a retina detaches, blindness can occur within hours. If you’re having difficulty seeing or are experiencing other detached retina symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
The only effective retinal detachment treatment is surgery. Different types of detached retina surgery include:
If your retina is torn but not yet detached, retinal tear treatment is available. Your ophthalmologist may be able to repair the tear using lasers or retinal tear surgery.
If you think you may have a torn or detached retina, or if you’d like more information about retinal tear surgery, contact the eastern Wisconsin ophthalmology center nearest you. Our ophthalmologists practice in the following locations:*
*Some ophthalmologists practice inside Aurora Health Care clinics instead of dedicated ophthalmology centers. Contact your neighborhood clinic for more information, or search for a detached retina expert near you.