A retinal tear occurs when the clear, gel-like substance in the center of your eye (vitreous) shrinks and tugs on the thin layer of tissue lining the back of your eye (retina) with enough traction to cause a break in the tissue. It's often accompanied by the sudden onset of symptoms such as floaters and flashing lights.
A retinal detachment is defined by the presence of fluid under the retina. This usually occurs when fluid passes through a retinal tear, causing the retina to lift away from the underlying tissue layers.
Symptoms of retinal tears and detachment
Retinal tears and detachments share some common signs and symptoms. These may include:
Seeing floating specks or cobwebs
Blurred or distorted (straight lines look wavy) vision
Defects in the side vision
It's important to pay attention to any changes in your vision and find care quickly. Seek immediate medical attention if you suddenly have floaters, flashes or reduced vision. These are warning signs of potentially serious retinal disease.
Risk factors for retinal tears and detachments
Risk factors for retinal tears and detachments might include: