Learn More About Retinal Tears (Flashes and Floaters)


A retinal tear occurs when the retina at the back of the eye begins to tear away from its normal position. Here, the experts at Lehigh Eye Specialists will highlight what you need to know about this condition.


What Are Retinal Tears?

The retina refers to the thin layer of light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye cavity. When a defect develops in the retina, it is known as a retinal tear. A tear in the retina can lead to severe and even permanent vision loss.

Retinal tears can occur for a range of reasons. Most retinal tears are associated with traction from the vitreous gel tugging upon the retina. The vitreous refers to a clear jelly-like substance that fills the inside of the eye.

Symptoms of Retinal Tears

What Are the Symptoms of Retinal Tears?

As retinal tears are painless and may be asymptomatic, they may be discovered during a routine eye exam. However, it is more typical that they present with visual symptoms.

For example, this can include the onset of retinal floaters. Floaters look like small moving clouds or specks. Another symptom is photopsia, retinal flashes of light that persist during the day and are particularly noticeable in the dark. A person’s vision may also become hazy if the retinal tear is associated with bleeding.

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What Are the Treatment Options?

Not all retinal tears require treatment and some tears will treat themselves. In most cases, retinal tears are typically treated with a laser or a freezing procedure (cryotherapy).

Other treatment options include pneumatic retinopexy, scleral buckling, and vitrectomy. It is important to consult with a retina specialist about the best course of action. In some cases, a retinal tear can worsen and develop into a detached retina.


The Lehigh Valley’s Choice for Effective Treatment of Retinal Tears

Lehigh Eye Specialists is the trusted choice in the Lehigh Valley for the effective treatment of retinal tears and retinal diseases. We provide a caring and compassionate environment for our patients who receive expert care from our highly skilled doctors.

If you have been referred to Lehigh Eye Specialists for diagnoses or treatment of a retinal tear, our Patient Portal page has important information and forms to help you prepare for your visit. We look forward to serving you and your eye care needs.

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