Retina Holes and Tears

What are retinal holes and tears?

The retina holes and tears are small ruptures in the retina. The retina is the photosensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Usually, holes and tears do not mean that you will have severe vision problems right away. However, the retina holes and tears can cause problems if they allow the fluid (vitreous) to leak behind the retina. If a lot of fluid gets behind the retina, the retina can be separated from the wall of the eye. The detached part of the retina will not work properly. Retinal detachment is a serious condition that can lead to total blindness.

Sometimes the tissues of the retina begin to thin or weaken over time. Holes and tears can develop in areas of thinning. Vitreous (the clear gel in the center of the eyeball) can pull out the retina and tear it.

Eye problems that may increase the risk of holes and tears in the retina include:

  • myopia
  • eye injuries
  • cataract surgery or some other types of eye surgery
  • Family history of retinal detachment

Sometimes the retinal holes and tears have no symptoms, however, the sudden appearance of many floatersand flashing lights may indicate a hole or tear.

Other symptoms may include:

  • blurred or wavy vision
  • a dark shadow on your peripheralvision

Your ophthalmologist dilates your eyes with eye drops. Then he looks at your eyes through an ophthalmoscope (an illuminated instrument for examining the inside of the eye).

Your doctor will seal the retina holes and tears so that they do not grow and the retina does not completely detach. The main types of treatment are:

Laser photocoagulation. Highly focused beams of light seal the tissue around the hole or tear. The procedure is generally quick and painless. Your eyes will be dilated for this procedure. You can go home immediately after the procedure. Your vision may be blurry for a couple of hours.

Treatments for retinal holes and tears are usually successful. However, you may get a hole or tear in the retina in another part of your eye later. You should regularly examine your eyes.

In addition to protecting your eyes from injury, there is no way to prevent retina holes and tears. However, you can help prevent blindness if you visit your ophthalmologist for regular check-ups or as soon as you have symptoms of the hole or tear.

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