Retinal Tear Treatment in Baltimore
Also serving Pikesville, Owings Mills, Glen Burnie, & Rosedale
Retinal tears are not an unusual condition as changes within the eye create a pulling effect on the retina. But this condition can lead to a much more serious problem — retinal detachment. Fortunately, our team at Elman Retina Group can treat a retinal tear easily and effectively
The Making of a Retinal Tear
To understand the mechanics of a retinal tear, it helps to understand a bit of interior eye anatomy. Under normal circumstances, the space inside the eye is filled with a gelatinous substance called the vitreous humor. With age, however, the vitreous humor may shrink somewhat, causing it to tug at the retina, which lines the inner wall of the eye. If your middle-aged eyes have begin to see “flashers,” it may be your vitreous humor contracting.
While flashers may be annoying, they are not necessary a sign of a serious problem — yet. But if the vitreous humor tugs on the retina a little too insistently, it can create a tear. Retinal tears should never go untreated. That’s because if fluid gets underneath the retina, it can encourage the retina to peel right off of the eye’s wall. This is what we call retinal detachment, and it can cause serious vision loss unless treated immediately. Even after surgery to correct a detached retina, you might not regain full vision in the affected eye.
Retinal Tear Symptoms and Solutions
Older individuals, myopia patients, and recipients of either cataract surgery or recent eye injury may be more prone to retinal tears. You may experience experience such as flashers and floaters, swelling or pain in the eye, eye movement issues and headaches. These are always a sign that you need to get your retinas checked by our experts here at Elman Retinal Group. We can examine the interior of eye in great detail to see whether you actually have a retinal tear, retinal detachment or some other eye problem.
Treatment of a retinal tear is much simpler and more straightforward than treatment for retinal detachment, which is one more reason to get the condition dealt with early. Treatment options include:
- Laser surgery – A form of laser therapy known as photocoagulation can create tiny amounts of scar tissue that seal up a retinal tear, preventing further complications.
- Cryopexy – This technique freezes the torn part of the retina to keep the tear from growing larger. This technique is usually performed on the front part of the retina, where a laser cannot reach.
These techniques are both quick, simple outpatient procedures that should cause you minimal discomfort or downtime — but they can spare you significant vision loss and more extensive surgery in the future.
Retinal Tears FAQs
How common is retinal tear?
Retinal tears affect about one in 10 people. Because they are related to aging and changes in the eye, tears are more common among adults over the age of 40.
What is the difference between retinal tear and retinal detachment?
A retinal tear is a small rip in the retinal tissue that leaves the retina less securely attached to the back of the eye than it ought to be. Retinal detachment occurs when the retinal tissue fully disconnects from the back of the eye. A retinal tear is usually a precursor to retinal detachment. Since retinal detachment can lead to irreversible vision loss, it is wise to treat a retinal tear before it leads to detachment.
How can retinal tear be prevented?
Although trauma to the eye accounts for a small percentage of retinal tears, you can reduce your risk of tearing your retina by wearing protective eyewear like goggles when engaging in contact sports and other potentially hazardous activities.
Most cases of retinal tear cannot be prevented. Instead, your best bet is to schedule regular eye examinations to ensure that your retina remains in good condition. This routine is especially important for nearsighted patients since myopia is a risk factor for retinal tear. If you start to notice any symptoms of retinal tear, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible to determine what the problem may be.
Can a retinal tear heal on its own?
There are some retinal tears that are superficial enough that they do not require treatment. These tears can essentially reattach without posing risks to your health and vision. However, your eye doctor will need to continue to monitor a minor tear to verify that it has not gotten larger or might warrant treatment in the future.
With that said, it is not safe to assume that a retinal tear can be left alone. Most retinal tears do require treatment like laser surgery or cryopexy. Addressing retinal tears in their early stages is an easy and effective way to prevent retinal detachment.
Can stress cause retinal tears?
The most common causes of retinal tears are aging, injury to the eye and extreme nearsightedness. Though retinal tears are sometimes attributed to stress, that is only true in an indirect sense. Long-term stress can elevate your blood pressure, which will then put you at increased risk for retinal conditions like tears or diabetic retinopathy. For the sake of your overall health and wellness, it is beneficial to reduce and manage any anxiety in your life.
How much does it cost to treat retinal tear?
The cost to treat a retinal tear depends on both the extent of the tear and the method (laser surgery or cryopexy) chosen to treat the condition. Your eye doctor will provide you with a complete cost breakdown in advance of the procedure. The good news is that most insurance plans will cover retinal tears. Click here to see a full list of the many insurance plans that Elman Retina Group accepts.
Contact Elman Retina Group for Retinal Tear Treatment
If you or your primary eye doctor suspect that you have sustained a retinal tear, schedule an appointment at any of Elman Retina Group’s three offices. We can stop that retinal tear in its tracks!