Retinal tears and breaks

A retinal tear is a hole that forms in the outer part of the retina.

Tears can happen due to the jelly inside the eye coming away from the retina (vitreous detachment) or trauma to the eye.

If retinal tears are left untreated, then there is a very high risk of developing retinal detachment.

Symptoms of retinal tear

The symptoms of retinal tear are similar to that of a retinal detachment, with one or more of the following:

  • Usually painless
  • Sudden influx of floaters. These are shapes, which can range from small dots to irregularly shaped strands, that drift across your field of vision.
  • Blurring of vision
  • Flashes of light
  • Gradual reduction of peripheral vision
  • A curtain-like shadow descending over your vision

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is important to immediately seek medical attention, ideally within 24-48 hours, to exclude a retinal tear or a retinal detachment and to minimise the long-term effects of retinal detachment on vision if it is present.

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