Retinal Tears

A torn retina occurs when the retina or thin tissue at the back of the eye begins to tear away from its normal position.

Retinal tears can lead to a retinal detachment, which requires immediate attention.


Retinal tears can be a very serious condition that can impact your vision, so if you are experiencing any symptoms associated with a torn retina, contact our offices as soon as possible.

Surfers eye macro

What is a retinal tear?

The white circle below highlights an area where the retina has started pulling away and has torn - you can see the torn flap.

Retinal tear5
fundus photo showing retinal tear

The camera here is looking straight back into the inside of of your eye - it's taken through your pupil, an opening that allows light into the sphere.

Think of it like peering into the interior surface of an inflated balloon.

The inside surface of that balloon is coated with a thin film or membrane, the retina (with another layer called the choroid underneath).

When this membrane starts to pull away from the inner sphere surface, we call it a retinal detachment.

Symptoms of a Retinal Tear

A torn retina will not cause any pain, but will affect your vision in one of the following ways:

  • The appearance of floaters, especially if very sudden and more than one

  • Reduced peripheral vision

  • Flashes of light in one or both eyes

  • Blurred vision

  • Appearance of shadows in your visual field

Keep in mind that some of these symptoms may be linked to another condition, but also may be due to a torn retina. It’s important to schedule an eye exam to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Retinal Tear Treatment

There are two methods to treat retinal tears by creating scar tissue around the tear to prevent fluid from entering through the tear.

Laser Photocoagulation: A laser is used to create scar tissue to fuse the retina to the surrounding tissue.

Cryopexy: Combined with local anesthetic, the doctor will apply a freezing probe to the outer eye over the tear to secure the retina to the surrounding tissue.

Treatment for Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment requires immediate attention to avoid the loss of vision and, potentially, your sight in that eye.

If you're experiencing any symptoms of a torn retinal, you should be seen as soon as possible to determine if your retina has detached.

Dr. Besser will perform a dilated exam in order to determine whether your retina has detached and, if so, evaluate its severity.

There are various specific surgical interventions available to repair the damage. Some of these can be handled in the office; some are more complex, and require a trip to the operating room to repair the retina.

If the retinal detachment is acute, Dr. Besser may refer you to a retinal subspecialist to perform a specialized surgical procedure.

Cta golden malibu

If you’re experiencing symptoms of retinal detachment, please see a specialist as soon as possible. Appointments with Dr. Besser at our Culver City, Los Angeles office can be made online, 24 hours a day.

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