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Retinal tears and retinal detachment:

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Moulton Eye Clinic offers diagnosis and treatment of retinal tears or detachment. The retina is the inner lining of the eye and works like the film in a camera. It receives the image and transfers it through the optic nerve to the brain. A retinal tear or detachment can be spontaneous or traumatic as well as in association with diabetes. Most commonly, flashing light is seen followed by a curtain effect over the vision or a spiderweb effect. Within hours to days, a curtain or solid black wall effect will be seen in the affected eye coming from above, below or the side.

Tears that eventually cause detachment are most commonly secondary to a pulling of the vitreous or jelly-like substance that fills the eye, during normal aging. The vitreous shrinks and causes a tear or tears. Sometimes the shrinking of the vitreous pulls the retina completely or partially off of the back of the eye, causing retinal detachment and accumulation of fluid underneath the retina. In younger patients, extreme nearsightedness predisposes a person to tears and detachments.

Early diagnosis and treatment helps prevent vision loss. An individual experiencing any or all of these symptoms should seek professional help immediately. If a small retinal hole or tear is seen, it can sometimes be treated with laser in the office. The area around the hole or tear is sealed so that it does not get worse. However, if a retinal tear or detachment is the problem, more extensive surgical treatment may be indicated.

One form of surgical treatment of retinal tear or detachment is known as a Scleral Buckle. Fluid is drained from underneath the retina followed by a freezing treatment of the retinal tear and placement of a plastic band or buckle around the eye.

Other treatments include freezing the area surrounding the tear, injection of a gas bubble into the eye, and Vitrectomy. With a Vitrectomy, the retinal detachment is treated by removing the vitreous jelly inside the eye and placing a gas bubble in its place. A scleral buckle is sometimes applied as well to hold the retina in place. This procedure is done when other approaches have not been or would not be successful.