Are retinal holes and tears something to worry about?

by Mar 23, 2018

It always seems to happen on a Friday afternoon or before a long weekend.  All of a sudden you start noticing a bunch of quick, flashing lights or a bunch of floaters in your vision.  These are just a few of the symptoms of retinal holes and tears. Sometimes, you may not experience any symptoms at all despite having a retinal hole or tear. When symptoms do occur, they are usually in the form of multiple floating spots, flashing lights, dark shadows, and loss of your peripheral vision.


retinal holes and tears


Back to the Basics: Retinal Holes and Tears

The retina is the lining at the back of the eye that helps to sense incoming light rays.  The retina cannot feel pain, temperature or any sensation. The only thing the retina can do is sense light.  Retinal holes and tears are actually little breaks or cracks in the retina, which allows fluid to seep behind the retina causing the retina to locally detach from the wall of the eye.  Eye disorders that can cause retinal holes include myopia or nearsightedness, cataract, eye trauma, eye surgery, diabetes mellitus, and a variety of other conditions. Retinal holes and tears do not automatically cause severe vision problems; instead, the areas of the retina that have holes and tears will not function correctly. If the condition is not well managed or treated in due time, then significant vision loss or even blindness can occur.


How are Retinal Problems Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of retinal holes and tears can be made with a thorough eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.  Your eye doctor will use equipment to find the hole or tear and determine if it needs to be treated by an ophthalmologist or if it can be closely monitored.  The Neal Eye Group also offers an advanced photograph called an Optos that can also help find serious retinal issues without the need for a dilated eye exam.   


If you have any further questions about retinal holes and tears call us at (610) 828-9701. We serve Conshohocken, Plymouth Meeting, Lafayette Hill, and Whitemarsh. 

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