What is a retinal tear?

The retina is a layer of tissue at the back of the eye that processes light.  A retinal tear occurs when the layer of tissue gets torn. It allows the fluid in the eye to spread underneath the retina and can cause the retina to peel off. This can lead to a retinal detachment which requires surgery if left untreated.


The following symptoms are very concerning for a retinal tear or retinal detachment:

  • sudden increase in size and number of floaters
  • sudden appearance of flashes in the vision
  • shadow in the periphery (side) of the vision
  • seeing a grey curtain moving across the eye
  • sudden decrease in vision

Treatment & Diagnosis

Retinal tears or retinal detachments are diagnosed with a dilated eye examination. In some cases, an ultrasound of the eye may also be performed.

A retinal tear that has not progressed to a retinal detachment can be treated with laser surgery in the rooms. Laser is used to seal the retina to prevent fluid from leaking into the hole and prevents a retinal detachment from occurring. Retinal detachments can only be treated in hospital in a day surgery procedure.

Please call your doctor or Reception to make an appointment if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

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If you have any other questions, please contact us