Retinal Tears and Retinal Detachment

A retinal tear may occur after an episode of flashes and floaters, but it may also have no symptoms at all. It occurs when the clear vitreous gel within the eye shrinks and separates from the back of the eye with enough force to tear the retina at a point of adherence. A resulting tear or hole is of concern because it allows a path for clear vitreous fluid to collect and spread underneath the retina, leading to a retinal detachment.

When detected early, a retinal tear may be treated with laser or cryotherapy which greatly reduces the risk of a retinal detachment.

Without its normal attachment to the back of the eye, a detached retina loses part of its normal blood supply and loses the ability to function. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency usually requiring surgery, and it leads to a change in vision often described as if looking through a gray curtain shade. Surgery for a retinal detachment has a high success rate. 


Smaller retinal tears or detachments can be treated in the office with Indirect Laser Photocoagulation or CryoRetinopexy. These treatments are usually done with a retrobulbar Lidocaine injection to make the procedure comfortable. The treated eye is patched overnight to protect the surface of the cornea.

Larger tears or detachments require intervention with outpatient surgery at Ashland Community Hospital.


What to expect

For outpatient procedure, the procedure time in the operating room usually take form 60-90 minutes. You total time at the hospital can be 4-5 hours with your check-in, registration, procedure, and recovery/discharge. Normally the post-operative follow up exams fall at: 1 Day, 1 Week, 3 Weeks, 6 Weeks, and 3 Months following surgery.